Post Content

DEP Commissioner Laurie Burt

Laurie Burt

Commissioner, Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)

View Laurie's Bio

canoeing photo - housatonic river

On Tuesday, October 19th, I joined DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin and other colleagues and friends to canoe nearly 5 miles of the Housatonic River, from Fred Garner Park to the Decker boat ramp. The purpose of the trip was to get a first-hand look at the treasure we aim to save.

I have canoed rivers and lakes since I was a child, and I had forgotten how strong the currents can be in the fall, as in the spring after heavy rains. Logs and branches and sandbars put us all on alert to navigate the channel with care – it was great fun. I was reminded how dynamic and changing a natural river is.

The wildlife, even on this chilly autumn day, was abundant. The river, river banks and flood plain of this reach of the Housatonic River are rich in rare and endangered species ranging from mussels and amphibians to dragonflies and plants. On our trip we saw kingfishers, mallards and wood ducks, a great blue heron, a killdeer probing a mudflat and numerous beaver slides coming down the banks. Hawks soared in close circles, searching for morning prey.

The Housatonic is a prize to the Commonwealth, and to New England, a resource we cherish for its recreational value, its complex ecosystem and the value it lends our environment – a place where wildlife can thrive, where plants can grow, where people can work and play. Canoeing the river brought me closer than ever to the river.

After I canoed the river, I attended a listening session convened by Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles to hear ideas and concerns about addressing PCB contamination in portions of the river. This administration feels strongly about finding a solution to the PCB contamination of the Housatonic, and we are working with our partners to find the best solution we can, listening hard to those who want to rid the river of PCBs completely as well as those who call for preservation of the rich ecosystem that exists there today.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Braille Trail Coming Soon to Watertown posted on Jul 23

Braille Trail Coming Soon to Watertown

The town of Watertown, in partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will be opening a Braille Trail and a Sensory Garden, one of the few parks of its kind. Breaking ground on July 21st, this project hopes to be completed by late   …Continue Reading Braille Trail Coming Soon to Watertown

Park Profiles: Groundwork Lawrence posted on Jul 15

Park Profiles: Groundwork Lawrence

In late April, Governor Deval Patrick and former Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Rick Sullivan joined Mayor Dan Rivera and Senator Barry Finegold to make an exciting announcement.  Governor Patrick announced a $2.75 million investment in Lawrence’s Ferrous Site to acquire a three acre   …Continue Reading Park Profiles: Groundwork Lawrence

2014 DAR Agricultural Photo Calendar: July posted on Jul 1

2014 DAR Agricultural Photo Calendar: July

July’s Massachusetts Agriculture Calendar Photo Contest winner was Tamara Buckley-Leclerc, who photographed pickled green beans or dilly beans at  Carraig Farm in Ashby. Tamara says that dilly beans, seen in the July photo, are one of her husband’s favorites. She takes advantage of canning and freezing   …Continue Reading 2014 DAR Agricultural Photo Calendar: July