Serious problems at the Burlington and Quinebaug hatcheries
began to filter out to the public in 2003. A short report
regarding matters of concern to Sportsmen was written in
October of 2003, and can be found under Council Issues on
our NWCSC web site.
Just over nine months have passed since our report and
we are pleased to follow up that initial report with news
of major progress at the Burlington hatchery. The Burlington
hatchery has suffered losses of tens of thousands of trout
each year. The primary cause for the loss has been the uncontrolled
predation of fish eating birds. Predation from fish eating
mammals was addressed by DEP with changes to the trapping
regulations a few years ago that have resulted in more effective
use of Connecticut’s trappers to address predators
at sensitive locations such as the hatcheries. Avian predators
continued to present a major problem. Since most of the predatory
species are protected by either state or federal law, a different
approach to controlling their activity had to be found.
DEP Biologist; David Zadrozny, who recently took over the
management duties at the Burlington hatchery has done a commendable
job in addressing the issues that affect his facility. Mr.
Zadrozny instituted a program consisting of net coverings
over the ponds and raceways most in need of protection from
avian predators. Without agency resources to fund and build
the needed protective coverings, Mr. Zadrozny found an effective
partner for this project within the sporting community.
The Connecticut chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Farmington
River Anglers are two organizations that have been cited
at a recent Conservation Advisory Council meeting for their
contributions in financing and constructing net coverings
over most of the affected water bodies during this past year.
This represents a considerable financial investment. Material
to cover each pond averages $1500.00 in cost, and there are
at least 30 ponds requiring netting! Sportsmen also contributed
time and labor to construct the network and framing on site.
Most of the netting was in place in time to affect 2004
trout production and the results have been dramatic. The
Burlington hatchery is typically reported to raise approximately
45 to 50 tons of trout to stockable size each year. In 2004,
the hatchery has broken all previous records for trout production,
coming in with 80 to 85 tons of stockable trout!
The extra 30 tons of trout will become part of the statewide
distribution network. The extra capacity now realized in
Burlington should be maintainable and thus relieve some of
the pressure that remains with problems of water flow and
capacity at the Quinebaug hatchery.
Several project items remain to be completed at the Burlington
hatchery. Temporary netting needs to be replaced with permanent
netting. Our NWCSC has followed this project and is now involved
with the final stages of completion. We have been in touch
with Mr. Zadrozny and the required netting has been ordered.
Volunteers from the Northwest Chapter of Trout Unlimited,
(a Council member) will provide the labor and the Council
will fund the netting purchase.
This success story is yet one more example of what can be
accomplished through the good will and cooperation of our
state fish and wildlife agency and sportsmen’s organizations.