November 22, 2016

Dear Buckeye Brook Members and Friends:

RIDEM is in the process of following up on the cyanobacteria health advisories which were issued earlier this year for several water bodies in Rhode Island, including Warwick Lake. They recently visited Warwick Lake, Mashapaug Pond, and the Roger Williams Park Ponds. They did visual observations of Warwick Lake and indicated to me that "things looked clear."

To my knowledge, they have not yet lifted this year's health advisory, and are waiting to complete compiling data for all the water bodies they've visited before issuing a formal press release, and with that I wanted to share with you the information that's come in thus far for Warwick Lake.

Should you see any visual evidence of cyanobacteria pockets this season, please advise and we will ask the appropriate people to revisit

RIDEM also did a Warwick Lake fish study in October. According to RIDEM's Alan Libby, the Fish & Wildlife Division routinely does fish surveys of streams and ponds throughout the state to determine the status of fish populations. The Fish & Wildlife Division selects several lakes and ponds each year for evaluation. Last month's survey in Warwick Lake was to determine the spawning success of river herring because of a perceived blockage in Buckeye Brook to the movement of fish, to evaluate the large mouth bass population, and to determine species composition. The survey showed that both adult alewives and the blueback herring (river herring) were able to access the pond and spawn successfully as evidenced by the large number of young of the year herring that were caught and that the composition of fish species compared favorably with previous surveys.

Ten species of fish were collected.

Listed in order of abundance (from high to low), the ten species were:

  • White perch
  • Yellow perch
  • River herring
  • Bluegill
  • Largemouth bass
  • American eel
  • Gizzard shad
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Common card
  • Brown bullhead
  • On another note, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and a coalition of fishing and watershed protection groups mostly in the mid-Atlantic area, filed an action in federal court several years ago to have river herring listed as endangered and or a threatened species. The proceedings have changed and is now focusing on Blueback Herring. The Buckeye Brook Coalition supports this action to protect the river herring which annually spawn in our watershed. I am in communication with NRDC's attorney who is in managing the action for NRDC. The current case has been heard, pleadings are complete, and we are waiting for a judiciary opinion which will be shared when released.

    This is all good news.

    We will continue to keep tabs on things and advise of any major changes.

    Kind Regards,
    Michael Zarum, President
    Buckeye Brook Coalition
    A RI State Designated Local Watershed Council