Christmas tree drop off and volunteers


Narragansett Trout Unlimited and the RI Department of Environmental Management Fish & Wildlife Division are collaborating once again this year on their Trees for Trout program. 

The Trees for Trout program uses recycled Christmas trees to improve habitat for wild trout and other aquatic organisms. The trees are strategically installed in streams and rivers to reduce erosion, provide refuge habitat, and stabilize stream banks. 

The trees will be placed along riverbanks to provide stability and control erosion. Known as “conifer revetments,” they will trap sediment and decompose to gradually become part of the banks themselves. In the meantime, their branches along the edges in the water will offer protection for small trout and other aquatic animals seeking a place to hide from predators.

Drop off your trees Saturday, Jan. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Arcadia Check Station, Arcadia Management Area, Route 165, Ten Rod Road at Wood River, Exeter, RI.

Real trees only, not fake ones or trees sprayed with fire-retardant chemicals. All decorations and lights, as well as the stand, must be removed before the tree is dropped off.

Please call or email if you would like to volunteer. Even if it’s just for a few hours. Contact Maddie Proulx at or Dana Kopek at for RIDEM Volunteering or John Genovesi at

Wind farm protections for whales

NOAA Fisheries is seeking comments on proposed regulations to protect marine mammals and minimize the incidental harassment of marine mammals during the construction of the Revolution Wind Farm and its cable installation off Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

The public comment period is open from Dec. 23, 2022 until Jan. 23, 2023. Documents associated with this proposed action, including how to submit a public comment, are available on NOAA’s website at

This regulatory action is part of NOAA’s ongoing work to ensure the nation’s robust deployment of offshore wind energy is done in a manner that avoids and minimizes risks to protected resources, habitats, and managed fisheries.

The comment document relates, “No mortality or serious injury is anticipated or proposed for authorization.” To safeguard mammals, especially whales, the proposed regulations include such things as safeguards against incidental harm by pile driving (impact and vibratory), potential unexploded ordnance (UXO/MEC) detonation, and vessel-based site assessment surveys using highresolution geophysical (HRG) equipment.

Anglers are urged to comment on proposed safeguards.

NOAA Fisheries announces new strategic plan for 2022-2025

Last week NOAA Fisheries announced a new 2022-2025 strategic plan for the agency.  For a copy of the plan visit

The goals of the plan include: Building a climate-ready nation, including resilient fisheries and coastal communities; Ensuring the sustainability and competitiveness of U.S. fishing and seafood industries; Recovering and protecting marine species; and Continuing to build a mission-oriented, diverse workforce and to promote equity and environmental justice.

NOAA Fisheries related, “We are focused on confronting climate change, expanding our science capabilities, supporting conservation initiatives, including America the Beautiful, protecting and conserving our marine resources, and advancing equity and environmental justice.”

The plan defines NOAA’s role as they confront the growing effects of climate change impacts on their conservation and management mission. NOAA Fisheries plans on providing scientific information, tools, and capacity for resource managers and stakeholders to assess and reduce impacts, increase resilience, and help adapt to changing ocean conditions.

Offshore wind energy development also plays an important role in U.S. efforts to combat the climate crisis and build a clean energy economy. In support of the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, NOAA Fisheries will continue to play an important regulatory role. They plan to focus on minimizing the impacts to ocean resources, critical habitats, and fishing opportunities throughout the planning, siting, and development stages.

NOAA said in an advisory it aims to “Increase the competitiveness of the U.S. seafood industry to help make it more resilient to future market and environmental shocks as well as support domestic production and jobs and help ensure food security.”  They also plan to “Prioritize equity and environmental justice by promoting programs, policies, and activities to address the disproportionately high and adverse human health, environmental, climate-related, and other cumulative impacts on disadvantaged communities.”

MA Climate Change Assessment

The Baker-Polito Administration, through the Executive Office of Energy and Environment Affairs (EEA), released the “MA Climate Change Assessment,” the first statewide assessment detailing how Massachusetts people, environments, and infrastructure may be affected by climate change and related hazards through the end of the century. For a copy of the report visit .

The assessment will directly inform the first five-year update to the State Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Plan (SHMCAP) that will be released in Fall 2023. Importantly, it evaluates 37 climate impacts across five sectors: Human, Infrastructure, Natural Environment, Governance, and Economy; and seven regions of the Commonwealth.

Where’s the bite

Freshwater. Anglers are reminded to renew their licenses for salt and fresh water for 2023. For licensing information and a list of trout stocked ponds in Rhode Island visit; and in Massachusetts visit .

Striped bass fishing in our salt ponds and estuaries is still good. I plan to fish once we have a 45 to 50 degree day with low to moderate wind conditions.  At press time we just have not had this type of day in a while.

Cod, tautog and black sea bass are being targeted together on party boats until December 31 at which time both the tautog season and black sea bass seasons end in Rhode Island and Massachusetts (were BSB ended earlier on September 4). Party boats fishing for cod this winter include the Frances Fleet at  and the Island Current at . 

Rates vary but are about $135 per adult for a full day of fishing, call to check schedules and make a reservation.

Dave Monti holds a captain’s master license and charter fishing license. He serves on a variety of boards and commissions and has a consulting business focusing on clean oceans, habitat preservation, conservation, renewable energy, and fisheries related issues and clients. Forward fishing news and photos to or visit


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