|By Katelyn Gendron-List, Staff Writer|
WESTFIELD The Westfield River Watershed Association will be opening its doors to the community once again this year by sponsoring their annual Open House for the West Springfield Fish Ladder and Eelway on June 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"It's important that the people in the area understand the ecology of their river and of the programs that are being conducted to restore the salmon and other species," said Mark Damon, First Vice President
of the Westfield River Watershed Association.
"It is especially important that young people understand this and get involved at an early age," he added.
The Westfield River Watershed Association encourages people of all ages to come out for this free event and learn about their efforts to reverse the dramatic decrease in the Atlantic Salmon population within the Westfield River.
According to Henry Warchol, a volunteer and sponsor of the annual Open House, the state-of-the-art fish ladder is part of an ongoing attempt to try and bring back migratory Atlantic Salmon and to restore it to its ancient levels of immense population.
"Westfield used to be one of the prime spots for Atlantic Salmon
and up until a few years ago fish could not get up the Westfield River because of the dam in West Springfield," Warchol said. "The other day we got three up the fish ladder and that makes a total of six so far," he added.
Warchol went on to say that about 300 people show up every year for this event and they are mostly children who want to learn about their environment. There is an underwater viewing window where spectators can see the various species such as American Shad, Atlantic Salmon, Sea Lamprey, and Blueback Herring. There will also be guided tours of the area which will include the fish ladder and upriver around the dam.
For more information please log onto www.westfieldriver.org.
Parking is available in the former Southworth Paper Company parking lot on 150 Front St. in West Springfield.