Sportsmen, conservationists need to take action with checkbook and letters



Berkshire Natural Resources Council is a non-profit land conservation organization working throughout the Berkshires in Massachusetts to preserve threatened lands.  The Council places special emphasis on protecting Berkshire’s farms, forests, streams, and ridgelines – the great landscape features that give us clean water, fresh air, local produce, healthy wildlife, and outstanding recreational opportunities. You still have time to help them accomplish some wonderful projects by making a donation by June 30.


According to Tad Ames, BNRC President, by June 30 they hope to close on a Golden Hill deal in Lee which will permanently conserve and transfer hayfields from a corporate ownership into the hand of a local farmer.  Neighbors and the Lee Land Trust have helped leverage a state agricultural investment.


Two more farm projects should also close in late summer or early fall.  That would bring BNRC’s tally of protected farms to 30 with four more pending.   All credit goes to committed farmers, the Massachusetts APR Program and you, the supporters.


Also by June 30 they expect to buy a parcel from the City of North Adams that will connect the Hoosac Range and Mahican-Mohawk Trail.  Another closing will be the purchase of a 52 acre parcel in Lanesboro linking BNRC’s Constitution Hill with Lanesboro’s Laston Park on North Main Street.  They hope to build a bridge across Town Brook to connect the two parcels for walkers.


BNRC’s stewardship staff is taking care of 8,695 acres that they own and looking after 84 conservation restrictions that protect 10,322 acres.  *****

Hunters and shooters:  Are you aware that House Speaker Robert DeLeo released a bill entitled “An Act Relative to the Reduction of Gun Violence” to the general public?   Upon reviewing the legislation the Gun Owner’s Action League (GOAL) was very unhappy with it.  All 50 of the parts of the bill are listed as well as what GOAL supports and opposes.  For details, click onto   You are encouraged to read it but you will be upset.

GOAL’s assertion that the newly proposed legislation was supposed to be about addressing mental health issues and providing more crime fighting tools. While some of the bill covers those matters to some degree, there are proposals in it that will simply result in the further persecution of lawful gun owners.  People like you and me – hunters, skeet shooters, etc.

You are encouraged to respectfully and courteously contact your local representative and senator and ask them not to vote for this bill.    Don’t depend on the other guy to do it or your sportsmen’s club or the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen.  You do it!  Let your legislator know that there is a person attached to this letter.   *****

As you may know, the EPA has announced its proposal for the removal of PCBs from the rest of the Housatonic River.  After challenges and other delays, it will probably take 5 years before they begin and then it will take another 13 years or so.

Many people have no problem with their removing the PCB’s immediately upstream of the dams.  That would eliminate nearly 90% of them from the river.  However; from the confluence of the East and West Branches of the River in Pittsfield to Woods Pond in Lenox, the plan calls for removal of riverbed sediment and soil in eroding river banks in hot spots, and reconstruction of  the banks with an engineered cap covered with a bio-engineering ”soft” layer or if necessary with rip-rap.  Parts of the riverbed will also be capped.

This cap consists of a mixing layer, a filter layer, bioturbation layer, protective layer and a habitat layer.    Personally, I just can’t understand this cap business in moving water.  Surely they must be aware of the tremendous force of a raging river with the ability to roll huge boulders and take down trees which will then scrape and scour the river bottom and presumably any caps that exist there.

There are plans to dredge Woods Pond and cap it, too.  Some folks think they should just dredge it and skip the cap.  All the capping from upstream will end up there anyway.  The dredged material would be shipped off-site to existing licensed facilities, presumably by train.

Perhaps they should get off of this shovel and wheelbarrow technology and seriously look in to other methods of bio-remediation too, such as whatTim Gray and the Housatonic River Initiative folks have been advocating for years.

The remediation plan has barely been touched in this column.  Much more information is available at 1/ge/proposedcleanupplan.html.  You have until August 8, 2014 to mail in your comments to: (, or fax (617) 918-0028.. *****

The DFW conducts an annual wild turkey brood survey from June through August. It serves as a long term index on reproduction,” explains Dave Scarpitti, Turkey Project Leader.  It helps them determine productivity and allows them to compare long-term reproductive success. Citizen involvement in this survey is a cost-effective means of gathering useful data, and he encourages all interested people to participate. A turkey brood survey form is posted on the agency website.   Completed forms should to be mailed to: Brood Survey, DFW Field Headquarters, 100 Hartwell Street, Suite 230, West Boylston, MA 01583.

The Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club  Youth .22 Rifle League will run 8 weeks from July 2 to August 20on Wednesday evenings from 5 to 7pm.  $40 per child.  SSC membership is not required to join the league which is for kids 6yrs old and up.  The Club supplies all firearms and ammo but the kids need their own eye and ear protection.   Call Mike Buffoni with any questions at (413) 232-7703, or go to to download an application and mail it in.

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