Warwick Beacon - February 4, 2003
Buckeye Brook Coalition recruits counters for spring herring run

Portions of the bay and rivers might be frozen, and marine life might be at a standstill, but for Steve Insana and the Buckeye Brook Coalition, spring is just around the corner. The herring run is on its way, and the coalition is looking to you to help keep the Buckeye Brook Project moving along. Next on the coalition’s agenda are fish counters and a water quality monitoring program.

As the keeper of the brook, Insana is calling on the community to volunteer their time to help visually count the fish and collect water samples for testing. In an effort to keep the community informed with the progress of Buckeye Brook, there will be a meeting tonight at 7. At the meeting, details about both programs will be given, and those interested may volunteer to take part in the project. The meeting will be at the Warwick Public Library.

“This should be a really good [meeting],” Insana said yesterday. “I expect a pretty good turnout.”

According to Insana, Zachary Harvey, editor of a New England Fishing magazine and David Sanford, the producer of a local fly fishing television show, Check Your Fly, have shown interest in the brook and will be present at tonight’s meeting.

Buckeye Brook is the largest herring run in the state, competing only with Narrow River, known as Gilbert Stuart due to its proximity to the Gilbert Stuart birthplace. However, Buckeye Brook is the most productive, self-sustaining herring run, as opposed to the help the Gilbert Stuart herring run gets from fish ladders. Insana, along with his comrades, who include John Torgen, Narragansett Bay Keeper from Save the Bay, and Phil Edwards, fisheries biologist from the Department of Environmental Management, Fisheries and Wildlife division, have set out to prove this a fact and put Buckeye Brook on the map as one of the state’s most hidden natural treasures.

Through the help of the DEM and the University of Rhode Island, the Buckeye Brook Coalition has been given the materials needed to count the fish, and the resources to test the water. All it needs now are the volunteers to help get it done.

“Great things are happening around Buckeye Brook right now,” said Torgen. “Steve has pulled together people from the DEM, Save the Bay and URI to really study this brook.”

Torgen said that those who volunteer to count the fish will be trained by the DEM and asked to count the fish at least once.

“Of course, the more times we can get a count the better it will be,” he said. “But we hope to get a count at least once a day.”

Torgen said that counting the fish takes only 10 minutes and the more people they can get to count the fish the better off they will be. This, he said, helps to get a better, more accurate count. Since the counting is done visually, more than one set of eyes can help the volunteers decide on a number, as opposed to one person going on their count as a school passes by.

The water quality monitoring program is headed by Elizabeth Herron, URI’s Watershed Watch program coordinator.

“The volunteers will collect the samples and bring them to us,” said Herron. “We hope to begin testing the first weekend in May.”

There is a nominal charge for the testing, and the city has donated funds for this expense as the local sponsor.

“This is the best thing to happen to Buckeye Brook in a long time,” said Torgen.

What’s the next step after this?

Insana said he is going to get Buckeye Brook recognized and designated by the Rivers Council as a Watershed Council.

“It’s going to happen,” he said.