Habitat work on Crowningshield property withstands flash flood

By Erin Rodgers

Trout Unlimited’s work this field season on the Crowningshield property in Heath, Mass., was put to the test this fall when a torrential rainstorm dumped 5 inches of water on the region. Two bank-stabilizing wood jams put in place to improve trout habitat withstood the deluge and did exactly what they were supposed to do—keep the bank from sloughing and eroding into the stream during flash floods.

The Franklin Land Trust, with help from TU’s Massachusetts/Rhode Island Council and Deerfield Chapter, purchased the 100-acre property in 2015 to help protect native brook trout in the West Branch of the North River, which runs through the property. Early this fall teams installed the log jams, and two volunteer work days were set up for ecological and geomorphic monitoring around the jams. Mike Cole of the Deerfield Chapter and Cole Ecological, Inc., spearheaded the work with lots of help from Deerfield Chapter members.

The banks protected by the logjams (photo above) were the only banks that did not slump, erode or otherwise fail during the flash flood, showing that there is definitely a need for additional work on that stretch of stream. It also shows that this work pays quick dividends, both for trout and for anglers.

By Mark Taylor. A native of rural southern Oregon, Mark Taylor has lived in Virginia since serving a stint as a ship-based naval officer in Norfolk. He joined the TU staff in 2014 after a 20-year run as a newspaper journalist, the final 16 as the outdoors editor of the Roanoke Times. A graduate of Northwestern University, he lives in Roanoke with his wife and, when they're home from college, his twin daughters.