Fish & Wildlife

Looking for Volunteers in Massachusetts

Stream Continuity Project (Culvert assessment) - Volunteer Description

Your help will assure fish and wildlife passage along our waterways

If interested, contact Alison Dixon, Berkshire Outreach Manager, at

 

or call 413-394-9796 for more information or set up a training time.

Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) and the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) have teamed up to complete an assessment of the Housatonic watershed’s stream crossings in Berkshire County.  We are grateful for funding provided by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust and the Natural Resources Damages Fund.

SUMMARY OF THE PROJECT 
There are more than 900 places in the Berkshire County section of the Housatonic River’s watershed where roads cross streams, rivers or brooks. River Continuity works to reduce impediments to the movement of fish and other wildlife. Assessing the stream crossings is the first step in evaluating the degree to which a crossing is a barrier to wildlife. As towns replace culverts, this information will aid in replacing it with a wildlife friendly culvert.

TRAINING
The training for this position varies depending upon the level of involvement:

  • Team Leader:  The initial training is approximately four hours. There is about one hour training inside and three hours field work training outside. In addition, the Survey Coordinator will accompany the team leader on a few more field work sessions before the Team Leader works alone with trained Assistants.
  • Team Assistant:  Receive a brief overview of the project. Then the Assistant can join the Survey Coordinator to conduct field work. Once trained, Assistants will assist Team Leaders or the Survey Coordinator. Teams consist of one Team Leader assisted by one or two Team Assistants.
  • Duties:  Each Team Leader will be provided a segment of a map with the stream crossings identified.  The Team is responsible for locating the various stream crossings and completing a data form for each crossing to the best of their ability and within the realms of safety and accessibility.

RECOMMENDED SKILLS

  • Be able to find your way! One member of the team must have decent map reading skills and be able to drive to and locate the correct stream crossing on the topography map provided.

  • Be steady on your feet!  You will be clambering around the stream crossings which may be culverts or bridges. While we don’t want you doing anything dangerous there is a definite need to be reasonably physically able.

  • Be able to measure and record data.

  • Be able to use a GPS to obtain Latitude and Longitude coordinates. (At least one member of the team must be comfortable with using a GPS). GPS units will be loaned to a team leader by the Berkshire HVA office.

  • Be comfortable with using a digital camera. Photos of each crossing are important, and a minimum of two photos / crossing are preferable. When possible, cameras will be loaned by BEAT or HVA.

HAVE COMMON SENSE

  • We don’t want you to put yourself in danger – we need our volunteers to use good common sense and stay safe.
  • Some crossings are on very busy roads. Only complete the data form if you can find a safe place to park and be safe while completing the data form. Where necessary just get estimates of distances.

  • Some crossings may be off the road and in the woods. We don’t expect volunteers to hike miles into the woods – if it isn’t accessible – don’t assess it.

  • Some crossings are railroad bridges – we don’t want you walking down railroad tracks. These would be marked inaccessible.