Conservation Works!

Willowdale Fish Ladder System:  Keeping the Flow Going

Doug at Willowdale Dam Fishpass.

Dougie Aylward is a high school student from Rowley who has been keeping the fish ladder chambers cleared during the late fall & winter months at Willowdale Dam on the Ipswich River by Foote Canoe livery.  Dougie is the son of Charlie Aylward, a good friend of Chett Walsh and an active participant in many of our TU field activities.  He was actually 11 when he helped with the initial install of the stay-frame board system.

Dougie is active in his school’s environmental science classes and is happy to help keep up with debris clearing until springtime.His father Charlie has also participated in several TU ventures, assisting Chett and others with consulting advice on our larger projects as he is an expert on safety, rigging planning for the culvert at Crooked Pond Brook, fabricating the new heavy-duty stay-frames that are submerged in the fishpass chambers.

Clearing out the old fish pass channel.

It’s great to see other like-minded outdoors folks pitching in, small acts add up over time and our TU group and IRWA are both grateful for the help of anyone out there.  As it was explained to Doug, often the best deeds can happen quietly in solitude. Dougie has been clearing the chambers sporadically for years when on hikes, this fall he had approached me about doing it steadily every 3 weeks or so.  

This spring we will be replacing the batter boards and hopefully our aquatic friends will use the fish ladder system to migrate upstream beyond the dam to the many miles of the Ipswich River.

Chett Walsh, TU Nor’East Board member and Project Leader at Willowdale Dam Fishpass.