Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mystic River Reflections

("Great Tidal River")

Would Nanepashemet find today's river worthy of its name?

In planning my recent visits to the Mystic River, I found the Web site of the Mystic River Watershed Association most helpful. On their site, under the heading Mystic River History is the following:
"The name Mystic is derived from the Indian word "MissiTuk" or "great tidal river" a reference to the Mystic having once been tidal. For hundreds of years, Native Americans lived and fished along the Mystic..."
I'm left to wonder why this river can't be restored, at least minimally, to its tidal nature. While I understand the Amelia Earhart Dam (AED) was built as a flood control measure to prevent tidal flooding such as occurred during the Hurricane of 1938, I don't understand why the AED locks can't be left open and function the same as the hurricane gates do in Providence, Rhode Island. Thousands of anadromous fish could then gain passage upriver in the middle of the night without having to wait for a powerboat to sound its horn and alert the lock tender. From my observations, the river could use the twice daily flushing it is named for.  Aside from a hurricane, leave the gates open!

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