Updated: Sep 15, 2022
Troop 270 has worked with CVTU- the Candlewood Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited- for many years picking up Christmas trees from people’s houses every January and bringing them to the organization for use in river conservation projects.
Until this year, that’s where the troop’s involvement ended. This July, eight scouts and four adult leaders formed a crew to go backpacking at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. To fulfill required conservation hours for that trip, we saw a great opportunity to work with CVTU and to go full circle with the Christmas trees, from driveway pickup to completed conservation project.
In March, CVTU Acting Vice President Neil Baldino took our crew to several sites on the Pootatuck River and Deep Brook here in Newtown to learn what the organization did.
Over the years with erosion and urban development, the rivers have become wider, shallower, and slower which all lead to water that is too warm and unprotected for the trout to successfully reproduce. In a technique called “conifer revetment bank stabilization,” old Christmas trees are anchored to the side of the river bank to trap sediment. By doing so, land is added to the bank which narrows the river and speeds up the current, leading to cooler and better oxygenated water so it is a good breeding ground for trout.
In April, we began work by taking about 150 Christmas trees that our troop had collected in January and moving them to several sites along the river.
Then in May we came back and installed the trees into the rivers along the river bank. To attach the trees, we hammered in metal anchors attached to wires, then secured the trees to the wire with rope, sometimes tying our knots blindly underwater.
Overall, it was a lot of work but it was very enjoyable and Troop 270 is going to help CVTU in the future as well.
After the recent heavy rains, Mr. Baldino went back to survey the conifer revetments we installed. The sites were largely to completely submerged, building up sediment and we hope narrowing the river very effectively and quickly.
All of this work has been put in and we are already seeing the results. Now, the river will be a better place for trout to reproduce and Troop 270 will be doing this again in the future