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30DMF interested

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  • tcallag9469
    Dec 5, 2003
      Please see the following message from Brad Chase at DMF. Also see
      the letter from DMF to MDC below regarding a unilateral decision by
      MDC to lower the Mystic during the spawning season:


      We have discussed fish passage at the Earhart Dam with the MDC/DCR
      recently but have not reached the point of setting specific locking
      protocols for river herring passage. The dam was built with a
      fishway about 1967. The dam marked the end of the Mystic River
      estuary. Smelt and possibly other anadromous species were lost from
      the river within ten years. Alewife have survived and continue to
      have a relatively strong run in the Mystic River. The fishway was a
      poor design for the situation and had immediate operational
      problems. This was of little consequence since the dam operators
      have always kept an eye out for alewives at the dam and locked them
      through. This agreement between DMF and MDC goes back decades. I
      think this is what Nick Winter agreed to do in recent discussions
      with the MRWA.

      I have recently visited the dam and met with Bill Gode of DCR to
      discuss the potential for improving passage for other species. These
      discussions have taken a back seat to the stronger need at the
      Charles River. The Mystic has been drastically altered upstream of
      the dam. There may not be much we can do for other species. But,
      with the changes at DCR it seemed like a good time to open
      discussions. Also, DCR is going ahead with plans to replace the
      Mystic Lake dam. This reconstruction will include a fishway. We
      will work with them on the design and are excited about the chance to
      expand that population into the upper lake.

      With all that in mind, please include me on communications over
      access at the dam. We are very interested in the fish passage and
      sport fishing access component. As the regional sportfish biologist
      I know all the leadership in the region who may want to participate.

      Thanks, Brad.

      April 23, 2002

      Mr. David Balfour, Commissioner
      Metropolitan District Commission
      Charles River Dam
      250 Warren Ave.
      Charlestown, MA 02129

      Re: Wellington-Mystic Yacht Club

      Dear Mr. Balfour:

      In the interest of improving communication between state
      agencies, the Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) offers the following
      comments with regards to water flow manipulations in the Mystic
      River. This past weekend, the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC)
      used the flood control locks at the Amelia Earhart Dam to draw down
      river water to assist the Wellington-Mystic Yacht Club repair their
      boat ramp. We received a large number of calls on this activity and
      sent staff out to observe the effects of the drawdown on April 16th.

      Our main concerns relate to the health of the anadromous
      alewife run in the Mystic River and the lack of communication between
      MDC and DMF regarding this process. In this particular instance,
      relative to the passage of alewives in the Mystic River, it is
      probably better that the work was completed now rather than putting
      it off for a few weeks. Large numbers of alewives typically
      run until later in April. However, we are concerned about the
      substantial amount of exposed freshwater habitat upstream of the dam
      and the apparent absence of appropriate environmental review at the
      state and federal level. If this activity had occurred during a warm
      spell a few weeks from now, the potential would exist for high adult
      alewife mortality as dissolved oxygen levels decreased in the shallow

      In the future, we request that the MDC consult with DMF prior to
      conducting Mystic River manipulations that do not involve flood
      control. We are most concerned with adult alewife passage and
      spawning during the spring and the outward migration of juveniles in
      the summer and fall. Careful planning must be done from April
      through October to avoid a situation where a large number of adults
      or juveniles are subject to stranding or degraded water quality due
      to poorly timed river drawdown.

      We look forward to working with your staff to improve lines
      of communication and seek to enhance our existing resources in the
      Mystic River.


      Paul Diodati

      Cc: Samantha Overton, MDC
      Paul Dipietro, MDC
      Nick Winter, MDC
      Mark Dolittle, MDC
      Eric Hutchins, NMFS
      Karen Adams, ACOE
      Vern Lang, USFWS, Concord, NH
      Karl Pastore, Boston Harbor Watershed Team, EOEA
      Todd Callaghan, CZM
      Richard Keller, DFW
      Caleb Slater, DFW
      Grace Perez, Mystic River Watershed Association
      Medford Conservation Commission
      Chase, Brady, & Malkoski, DMF
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