TROUT - WINTER 2000 - THE JOURNAL OF COLDWATER FISHERIES CONSERVATION
History Beacon Falls, CT
November 2009 Researched and written by Bob Gregorski
Note: The following information is deemed to be accurate from
the sources from which it was gathered. The list of volunteer
participants in this project may not be complete. This history
may be amended after other information is submitted.
When the idea of creating a park at the riverbend on the Naugatuck
River in Beacon Falls was presented to the Naugatuck Valley Chapter
of Trout Unlimited Board in 1998 by Bob Gregorski -- one of the
Chapter founders and the Board endorsed the project. In November
1999, Chapter member Mike Horbal volunteered the services of his
land surveying & planning company. The first site plan was
drawn in November 1999 with input from River Steward Jonathan
Some progress was made, but the Riverbend Park project needed
financing and the Town of Beacon Falls needed ownership of the
adjoining property owned by O & G Industries. River Stewards
Harry White and Robbette Schmidt subsequently worked on the planning
aspects of the project with Horbal and Ken Faroni (O &G) through
2004. Little progress was made.
In the fall 2007, the catalyst for the project was $25,000 from
Alcoa offered to the Chapter by TU national representative Kirt
Mayland. Riverbend was deemed "Shovel ready" by the
Chapter Board. The result of the 1/8/08 meeting at the Beacon
Falls town offices attended by Chapter president Bob Perrella,
Naugatuck River Watershed Association (NRWA) president Bob Gregorski,
First Selectman Susan Cable and Ken Faroni was to move forward
with the project. Cable and Faroni were to work out the procedure
to have O & G donate its Riverbend parcel land to the town.
That was necessary before any construction permits could be issued.
Gregorski would work with the DEP and pursue getting the required
Gregorski and Don Mysling (a DEP Fisheries Biologist and river
projects coordinator) met with Cable, Faroni and the Town's Emergency
Service person and considered their input. After studying the
site, Mysling and Gregorski agreed to make three major changes
to the existing site plan: move the "curb break" to
the south end of the property, construct a roadway to the river
and add a "breakwater-J-hook" constructed of boulders
that were on site.
Note: The multi-purpose use of the roadway use would include:
emergency rescue, installing absorption booms in case of a spill
on the river, fish stocking and kayak and canoe access.
(Mike Horbal Land Surveying & Planning) donated his company's
services to the Chapter and drew up the revised plot plan. Gregorski
wrote the project description for submission and Mysling added
his comments. Mysling delivered the site plan and paper work to
the DEP Water Division in late February. The request included
Plan A- with a boulder placement breakwater (J-hook Vane) and
Plan B-with out the breakwater.
Shortly there after, Kirt Mayland the TU Director of the Eastern
Water Projects took over the project. Project engineer (Ed Leavy
PE) was hired.
Then Chapter president Mike Mackniak and vice president Larry
Wolff worked to bring the project to completion, which included
a park sign, two park benches and dedication ceremony. The benches
will be dedicated in memory chapter members Will Mraz and Neil
Kingsnorth. The park dedication ceremony was held 5/16/09.
More work may be planned for the park.
Alcoa -- $25,000
Katharine Matthies Foundation -- $13,000
Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter -- $3,000
Land Donation from O & G
Land Town of Beacon Falls
Mike Horbal Land Planning & Surveying $8,580
Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter :
Prior to fall 2007--The three river stewards Ploski, White and
Schmidt and their supervisors Weber, McDermott and Gregorski,
spent 60 hours on the project.
Total: 60 @ $25/hr. = $1,500.
Time spent on the project fall 2007- spring 2009: Bob Gregorski
Mike Mackniak - 20 hours, Larry Wolff -10 hours, Bob Perrella
-20 hours and
Bob Nikituck - 4 hours
Total: 74 @ $25/hr. = $1,850
Total: $52,930 does not include the value of the O & G land
donation and other donated work.
Unlimited Chapter # 281 History
Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter TU
As of: June 1, 2009
First chartered as the Pomperaug Regional Chapter
in 1976; name changed to Naugatuck Valley Chapter Trout Unlimited
in 1985 and to Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter in 2002.
Highlights of Accomplishments in the Naugatuck
Note: Prior to 1985 there was no concerted effort by conservation
organizations to restore the Naugatuck River.
More than 40 river clean-ups were completed, 10,000 tree seedlings
and bushes were planted, 18,000 trout, 3,000 broodstock Atlantic
salmon and several hundred American shad were stocked, scores
of bird houses were built and erected, at least $40,000 was spent
on these projects; money which came from fund raisers, grants
Note: about 1,000 volunteers who in total devoted
at least 10,000 hours working to improve the water quality and
riparian environments did all work. Volunteers came from members
of: TU, NRWA, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Zebras, 4-H, science classes
grades 5-12, ecology and conservation clubs, civic and religious
organizations, fire, police, recreation and public works departments.
TU Directors testified at many DEP hearings and
wrote letters supporting the improvement of the water quality
in the Naugatuck River Watershed.
TU and NRWA, Inc. were instrumental in the following accomplishments:
supervising and funding River Stewards, opening the Naugy to fishing
year long from the Kinneytown Dam south, extending the salmon
season through March, petitioning for No Fishing Thermal Refuges
at river/stream confluences from July 15-August 31, adding the
Naugy to the DEP sea-run trout program and supporting a TMA and
dam removals on the Naugy and Mad rivers, sponsoring three Eagle
Scout programs and several scholarships to senior students who
worked on conservation projects
River Stewards 1998-2004
The first River Steward Jonathan Ploski worked out of an office
in the Seymour Town Hall. River Steward Harry White worked out
of an office in Beacon Falls; space donated by Frank Hoinsky and
River Steward Robbette Schmidt worked from an office in her home
Here is a sample of the work that was done by
the river stewards. In aggregate, the three river stewards conducted
at least 20 river clean-ups, planted hundreds of trees and bushes,
attended scores of meetings with local, regional and state officials
and committees, worked on planning of River Bend Park in Beacon
Falls, responded to oil spills and suspected pollution locations,
participated in discussions about Greenways, Pin Shop Pond, Chase
Brass site and dam removal, worked on Brass City Fishing Tournament,
made about 15 presentations to various nature centers, groups,
classes at schools and organizations, helped stock shad, herring,
trout and salmon in the Naugatuck River, participated in surveys
of fish and insect life in the Naugatuck River and some of its
tributaries and tributary enhancement projects. The detailed reports
of work done are in the River Steward file. There are more than
100 pages of River Steward Reports.
Chapter Accomplishments -- Several river clean-ups and the River
Bend Park project completed, participated in: greenway/river project
discussions and 2009 Kayak Race Festival, sponsored Trout In the
Classroom and Salmon In the Classroom programs in schools, initiated
the improvement of stream banks and fish habitat at Jack’s
Brook, supported the removal of dams, enhanced its website with
information about the Naugatuck River Watershed, conducted scores
of fly tying classes and several fly casting clinics, co-sponsored
fishing derbies, and fishing classes.
Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter President -- Mike Mackniak
Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter -- A founder and Director –
Trout Unlimited Chapter # 281 Early History 1976-1984
Note: The history of Chapter #281 is a work in progress. Researched
and written by
Bob Gregorski (6-1-09)
Changes in Chapter #281 Names
Pomperaug Regional Chapter Fall 1976 – 1984
Naugatuck Valley Chapter 1985- March 2002.
Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter April 2002 -
Fall 1976 Tom Pero from TU National invited the
public to a meeting to discuss the formation of a new chapter
in the greater Waterbury area. The meeting was held in the basement
meeting room of the Congregational Church in Middlebury. In November
1976, the first officers and directors (Founders and Charter members)
Neil Kingsnorth (president), Mike Stephens (vice president), Bob
Gregorski (treasurer), Jeff LaCaria (secretary), Fred Kaufman
(Director) and Joe Rinaldi (membership).
Note: In the early years, the monthly meetings were held in the
cafeteria of Pomperaug High School.
Highlights of the early years 1976- 1984
1977-1980 Whitlock-Vibert Boxes were stocked with 65,000 Bitteroot
5,000 Donaldson Rainbow Trout Eggs in: Sprain Brook, Nonnewaug,
Weekeepeemee and Pomperaug rivers. Mike Stephens was lead person.
12/15/76 Lou Tabory was a guest speaker.
3/29/78 OPEN HOUSE A variety of demonstrations were available
to the public. It was well attended.
1977-79 Kingsnorth and Gregorski were key Chapter
members in the following three restoration/construction projects;
Relocation of Route 8 through Naugatuck–Beacon Falls (they
gave input regarding “V” deflectors, tributary confluences
and huge boulder placement in the Naugatuck River; widening and
rip-raping the banks of Sprain Brook section from Route 47 to
the Weekeepeemee River and Pomperaug River above Heritage Village
River Gardens down stream through the golf course. In the later
two, the Chapter filed for and received a Cease Work Order from
the Court. The contractors had been removing all gravel on the
river bottom excavating down to clay and removing all vegetation
from the banks that were to be covered with stone riprap and no
vegetation. A compromised was reached and the projects completed
under the watchful eyes of Chapter members.
11/17/79 Charlie Fox, the nationally known author
of “Rising Trout” and
“The Wonderful World of Trout” and was guest speaker
for the Chapter.
3/7/84 Steelhead controversy -- Some TU Chapter directors supported
the establishment of a steelhead fishery in the lower Naugatuck
River while TU National and some Naugatuck Valley Chapter Directors
worked against it. The support group had the backing of State
Neil Kingsnorth and Bob Gregorski (right to left
) two of the Chapter Founders received an award for their conservation
work from the Housatonic Valley Association in 11/92. An award
from the Chapter for twenty years of dedicated service was given
to them in the fall 1996.
Note: There will be more highlights added as
they are found in the research being done.