Barrier to fish migration Culvert raplcement in action
Trout Unlimited Sponsors Restoration of Wekepeke Watershed

Joins with Rushing Rivers Institute in its “Embrace a Stream” Grant
Sterling MA - The Central Massachusetts Trout Unlimited chapter #148 (CMTU) has joined with other partners including the Rushing Rivers Institute in a project to restore the Wekepeke Brook watershed. The goal of the project is to improve habitat connectivity in a highly impacted section of the brook by removing fish passage barriers. Recent studies demonstrate that native eastern brook trout and brown trout are present, but in lower than expected numbers and would benefit from habitat restoration efforts.
“Trout Unlimited is very excited about this project,” said Nick Comeau CMTU vice-president. “Surveys have demonstrated that while there is a trout presence in the watershed, old infrastructure impediments exist that restrict fish movement and reproduction. This type of project will return the brook to its natural state and will reintroduce native plants to the site, making an improved habitat for both aquatic and terrestrial animals.”
Through the Wekepeke Watershed Restoration Institute (WWRI), funding for the project has been provided by a grant from Trout Unlimited National that was matched by Nestlé Waters North America (NWNA) through the Rushing Rivers Institute. “We are looking forward to the work getting underway,” said Joe Rogers, Associate Director at the Rushing Rivers Institute. “The bulk of the work will take place this week with the removal of old stone and concrete retaining walls along with a small concrete dam. The work will widen the stream to its original size and provide better access for animals and fish.”
Additional work will be done in September when student volunteers from Fitchburg State University and NWNA will remove invasive species of plants from the river banks and will replace them with native plantings.
“Our objective with Rushing Rivers in the Wekepeke was to create a working model with the community so we could understand how a watershed is impacted by human activity,” said Tom Brennan, Senior Natural Resource Manager for NWNA. “We also wanted to identify how to mitigate those impacts and actually improve the watershed. The Wekepeke restoration work is indicative of NWNA’s commitment to good water stewardship and we are proud to be a part of such a great collaborative project.”
Project Web Page
Electro-fishing before the project
Hope for the future

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