Jul 17 2008


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Save the Housatonic is a coalition of conservationists and Housatonic River watershed stakeholders. The coalition plans to nominate the Upper Housatonic River for designation as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC.) Portions of Pittsfield, Lenox, Lee and Washington are included in the nomination. The steering committee for this effort is made up of the following five organizations:

Please read Save the Housatonic’s letter of February 9, 2009 to Secretary Bowles.

Berkshire Bike Path Council
Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT)
Berkshire Litchfield Environmental Council (BLEC)
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission
Citizens for PCB Removal (CPR)
Concerned Citizens of Lee
Housatonic Clean River Coalition (HCRC)
Housatonic Environmental Action League (HEAL)
Housatonic River Initiative (HRI)
Housatonic River Walk of Great Barrington
Housatonic Valley Association (HVA)
Housatonic Valley Association, December 18, 2008.
Lee Land Trust
Lenox Board of Selectmen
Lenox Board of Selectmen, February 10, 2009.
Lenox Conservation Commission
Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Massachusetts Historical Commission
Massachusetts/Rhode Island Council Trout Unlimited
Trout Unlimited, February 06, 2009.
The Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy, February 8, 2009.
Northwest Conservation District (NCD)
Representative John W. Olver, 1st District Massachusetts.
Stratford Action for the Environment (SAFE)
Taconic Chapter Trout Unlimited
Trout Unlimited.

Woods Pond and October Mountain – Photo Courtesy Mickey Friedman

Our goals for the designation of an ACEC focused on this remarkable natural resource include:

  • Establishing a framework for long-term, public participation in the stewardship of the Upper Housatonic River.
  • Raising public awareness of the exceptional resources represented by the Upper Housatonic River, its floodplain and immediate watershed.
  • Establishing a more formal and active role for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the effort to encourage the most sophisticated standards and methodology for removal and disposal of contaminated materials from the Housatonic and its floodplain

Save the Housatonic regards ACEC designation as an essential tool for giving the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and its citizens a stronger role in the effort to restore the Upper Housatonic River to a healthy, naturally functioning ecosystem with a vital place in the life of Berkshire County’s natural and human-made worlds.

Yellow-rumped warbler – Photo Courtesy RenĂ© Laubach, Mass Audubon

The PCB clean-up of the first two miles of the river in Pittsfield, though pursued in good faith by all parties, has taught us hard and valuable lessons about the benefits of some approaches, and the serious limitations of others. We believe ACEC designation will help bring the most successful practices to the fore, while avoiding repetition of the less successful practices.

ACEC designation will not by itself guarantee or prevent any particular outcome of the anticipated clean-up and restoration. It will, however, emphasize the need to take a long view of the process, and to do our utmost to ensure the best and healthiest future for the teeming, interdependent web of life in the Upper Housatonic River Valley.

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