The “20 Days in September” Project Update: Post-Irene Success

This gorgeous, healthy brookie is a sign of the quality stream restoration work done over the past year.
Photo by Josh Samuelson

This week, the Kelley Stand Road, which runs over the Green mountains from Arlington to Stratton, Vermont, opened for the first time since being destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene on August 28, 2011. This is significant because the road runs alongside the Roaring Branch of the Battenkill, which had to be returned to its streambed in many places. My friend Josh and I headed up the new road yesterday to see how the trout had fared. What we found was heartening.

You can see the bank-reinforcing mesh behind Josh, but the stream looks natural.
Photo by Phil Monahan

Using standard mountain-stream patterns—Stimulator, Royal Wulff, and Elk-Hair Caddis—we caught fish pretty much everywhere we thought they’d be. Most were small, but there were a couple fatties like the one at the top of this post. Huge kudos go to the USFW, the Battenkill Watershed Alliance (which received $10,000 from Orvis for the project), and the contractors who actually did the work.

These stream-born trout survived both the storm and the repairs. . .some hardy stock.
Photo by Josh Samuelson

In a few places, new pools had been constructed to provide the safety of depth and cover.
Photo by Phil Monahan

The buttery belly of a brook trout is a sure sign of fall.
Photo by Phil Monahan

Here’s how the project is going so far. I can only miss four more days. I think I’ll make it.

One thought on “The “20 Days in September” Project Update: Post-Irene Success”

  1. Great stuff Phil and thanks to Orvis for stepping up to the plate … again …. to pay it forward in their (your) own back yard. Nothing like keeping it local!!!

    For what it is worth there has been additional habitat work on the ‘kill. Check it out if you get the chance … some pretty cool cover / shelter structures going in using whole trees and slate.

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