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It’s certainly no secret this region has been in drought conditions for weeks. I can’t remember the last time Townsend put a watering ban in place but it’s in place because the wells are down.

The Squannacook is running at a trickle of its usual self and the Nissitissit River even had a trout kill, no question because of low water, high water temps and a lack of oxygen. The folks at the Nashua River Watershed have taken notice as well and have filed this report.

Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA) water monitors reported river and stream levels as low or very low in late July. Low flows have left the edges of streambeds exposed. The lack of rain is always a concern for both stream and groundwater levels. Dry stream beds or trickles of water where cool flowing water should run are not good for fish and the creatures they eat.

According to USDA statistics, 80 percent or more of the topsoil was rated short or very short of moisture in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts (USGS Drought Monitor, July 24). While low flows are hard on aquatic life, the exposed banks provide a great opportunity to observe wildlife tracks. Otter, beaver, and deer are just a few of the animals who depend on the rivers and streams for water and habitat and, while we may not catch a glimpse of them, tracks are a delightful sign that they are out there.

Over 30 volunteers have been collecting samples and reporting observations each month at 42 sites on the Nashua River and its tributaries. NRWA water monitors are enthusiastic stewards of our waterways, keeping an eye out for the good (clear water with fish), the bad (aquatic invasives) and the ugly (trash). Funding for the 2012 monitoring season has been provided in part by the Greater Lowell Community Foundation.

If you would like to become an NRWA water monitor, you can always join a team or be a back-up. Please contact Kathryn Nelson, NRWA water-monitoring coordinator, at Be sure to check out the NRWA’s River Report Card under What We Do on our new website at”

Volunteers from the NRWA and Ducks Unlimited went back to the Nashua River again this year and the 30 people their pulled water chestnuts from the river all day. These are invasive plants that just choke the river to death.


If you put in for an antlerless deer permit, it’s time for you to go to and see if you have the ability to be hunting for a deer of either sex. No longer will you be notified by mail. You must go online. If you do not have a computer, you might try the local library or go to Mass Wildlife Field Offices and ask for help. The new system is a tad confusing so don’t feel like you’re alone out there.


On Sunday Aug. 12, the Townsend Rod and Gun Club will host a Bowling Pin Shoot. It starts at 8:30 a.m. and cost is just $10 for 3 rounds. Large caliber handguns are welcome.


Goose hunters are advised that the early Canada goose hunting season dates are Sept. 4-5, with hunters allowed a bag limit of 7 birds per day. All other migratory bird season dates and bag limits will be set by the Fisheries and Wildlife Board immediately following an informational hearing at 3 p.m. on Aug. 30 at the UMass Cranberry Experiment Station in East Wareham.


Squirrel hunters are advised that the squirrel season in Zones 10-14 listed in the 2012 Guide to Hunting, Fishing and Trapping is incorrect. The correct dates for hunting squirrels in Zones 10-14 are Oct. 13-Jan. 2.

There was an error in the July MassWildlife News regarding the Quabbin deer harvest figures. The total number of deer taken at Quabbin in the 2011 season was 73 deer, showing there are still a few deer there to hunt, just not 500 that were killed the first year.

Email Bill Biswanger at