CHARLEMONT, Mass. – Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London Command Chaplain Cmdr. Jamie Stall-Ryan volunteered to help support fish tracking efforts in Massachusetts by moving telemetry equipment along the Deerfield River, Oct. 16.
The Deerfield River has 10 dams and is home to native and stocked trout. The telemetry equipment is used to track tagged wild brown trout that swim and spawn in the river, and to monitor potential environmental effects on the trout.
Stall-Ryan along with other local volunteers offered their time and boats to move the telemetry equipment to help narrow down the trout spawning beds. For Stall-Ryan, the evolution was more than a volunteer effort as the Deerfield River had personal significance to him.
“I went up to the Deerfield River, the one I fished on as a little boy,” said Stall-Ryan. “I helped a biologist and the president of [Deerfield River] Trout Unlimited along with some other volunteers move some telemetry equipment used to track spawning fish so we can continue to keep the river healthy and abundant numbers of fish in the river, not just for fishing, but for the sake of the entire ecosystem. If the fish continue to thrive, the rest of the ecosystem will as well.”
Stall-Ryan said the hydro-electric dams raising and lowering of water levels can harm trout eggs in their spawning beds, so trout have been tagged and tracking equipment set up to determine where exactly their spawning beds are so the sites can be better protected.
“The Deerfield River is in western Massachusetts and it has a hydro-electric dam that produces power for a portion of Massachusetts,” said Stall-Ryan. “That river is also home to wild brown trout. What they’re trying to do with this tracking equipment is determine the hydro-electric flow levels and how they affect the trout spawning season. What they’re trying to determine is where the trout are spawning so they can track their beds, which is where the fish spawn, to see if the raising and lowering of the water is effecting the trout. For example, if they lower it to the point it exposes the eggs and kills them, or raise the water level so high it washes the eggs away.”
For Stall-Ryan, the endeavor was not only an effort to help the environment, but a way for the Navy to show their continued support to the surrounding community.