Orvis, Conservation Partners Protest Batten Kill Stocking Plan

Orvis, which has been active in Battenkill restoration for many years, announced on Monday that if Vermont’s Fish and Wildlife Department goes ahead with its plan to stock the river with rainbows, it will cease raising funds for Batten Kill conservation work. “The 1,000 or so rainbow trout the state is considering releasing into the Battenkill would also provide more competition for the native brown trout for feeding, undermining efforts to rebuild their population through habitat restoration, said said Bill Bullock, the Director of the American Fly Fishing Museum and a member of Trout Unlimited and the Battenkill Watershed alliance.” Andrew McKeever in the Bennington Banner.
Vermont public radio also did a podcast on the story, which you can listen to here. Perk Perkins: “There are rivers that can’t reproduce they don’t have the spawning habitat. They just can’t sustain a wild trout population. But here we have one of five rivers left in the entire state that have wild trout. And we need to protect that.”

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  • Alan Gregory

    Heartening, very heartening, to see a company like Orvis step forward with the right course of action. The bucket biologists will do most anything to keep their hatchery empires growing (and the hatchery effluent flowing).

  • Yes, especially considering that stocking the Battenkill would result in more business for Orvis locally. According to another newspaper article: “Leigh ‘Perk’ Perkins Jr., CEO of The Orvis Co. fly-fishing gear manufacturer, said he would benefit if there were fish that anglers could keep. But he said he still was opposed and has threatened to withhold funding for habitat restoration.”

  • jdubya

    In the west, the Green and Madison are good examples, brown and rainbows occupy distinct niches in the river. Thus as WD has decimated ‘bow numbers, the browns did not respond with increased numbers. So in terms of real effect, I don’t see how dumping 1000 ‘bows into the river is gonna make a damn bit of difference. However, if this is more of a statement of complaint about stocking in general, cool. But in this specific case, I can’t imagine it will have any effect at all on the resident browns.

  • Interesting point about the separate holding areas. I wonder, though, whether that is as true on smaller waters like the Battenkill. It may be.

  • Responding to jdubya…
    I was at the Sept 21 public hearing and I met with local TUers on the Battenkill. To be honest, I went into it thinking the same thing… 1000 rainbows over 6.5 miles, what’s the big deal? But really, it would be stupid and tragic if the state stocks the BK. The state studied every aspect of the river and they determined that the reduction in fish numbers is due entirely to a lack of holding water for 6-12″ trout. It really doesn’t make any sense to throw in 1000 more 6-12 inchers when the wild ones are dying because of a lack of adequate habitat.
    The decision to stock is entirely politically motivated and it will undermine habitat restoration efforts (the real fix). I’ll be writing about this stuff in detail on my blog soon.

  • Luca, be sure to let us know when you’ve posted about this on the TU blog.