Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team

Millbrook Meadow and Mill Pond Restoration

The Town of Rockport has decided to dredge the Mill Pond in Millbrook Meadow in order to remove sediment and invasive species of plants in and around the pond. Years of sludge (estimate 4,000 pounds), overgrown flora, caved granite walls, and the rerouted brook have damaged the area. Concerned residents have raised private funds and petitioned the city and federal government for money and support. Plans are now underway to enact the restoration.

That said, there are turtles and fish in there that are going to need someplace to go. So... a few people from the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team, Kestrel Education Adventures, NOAA's Relocation Specialist Eric Hutchins, Rockport High School Teacher Eric Sabo and his students, and a few others will be involved in moving turtles and fish to the Loop Pond, which is about a half mile upstream from the Mill Pond.  We also hope to make an educational opportunity out of this and the public is invited to these activities.


Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team Upcoming Activities and Photographs Below

Wednesday, September 13
 - we are going to reset a bunch of turtle and eel traps in the Mill Pond.

Thursday and Friday, September 14 and 15 at 9 am
 - we will check the traps for wildlife and focus on capturing fish with dip nets and seine nets. Traps will be reset on the 14th for the 15th. Any captured critters will be moved to the Loop Pond.

Photographs of these Activities by Victoria Rolf, or otherwise acknowledged.



Friday, September 8th, 2017
Setting Traps

It was a great day and we set 11 turtle traps and 6 eel traps. Lots of muck to get stuck in. Doing the work was Eric Hutchins from NOAA (the overseer of the relocation project), Rick Roth from the Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team, and Clayton Kern from Kestrel Education Adventures. We got the turtle traps ready and used canned herring and sardines in oil. For the eel and elver (baby eel) traps we used chicken and chicken livers. There's a bit of an art to all this... just so you know.






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Frog, Painted turtle, elver eel (young eel)... found along the way.








Saturday, September 9th, 2017
Retrieving Traps

It was such a beautiful day and we had no idea what was in store for us. It was like we were on a scavenger hunt and it was just so exciting for everyone. I think the best part was having about 5 people who really knew a great deal about different facets of the wildlife we caught. Most fascinating was the American eel and its 3,000+ mile trek to breed down in the Sargasso Sea. You really must learn more about this cool creature so we added a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service information bulletin about the American eel as a subpage to this one. The total count for the morning was 15 painted turtles, 1 twenty to thirty year old snapper - we think it was Fluffy, a few sunfish, a catfish about 8 inches long, baby eels and an adult eel about 1.5 feet long, along with some leeches and a fish that snuck out of the net during retrieval. Each of these was measured, sex identified (when possible), and the turtles were notched. Then they were driven up to Loop Pond and released. Glorious and really fun to be a part of this adventure!

Pictures will be posted in a day or two....


Wednesday, September 13th, 2017
Setting Traps


Thursday, September 14th, 2017
Retrieving Traps and Resetting Traps


Friday, September 15th, 2017
Retrieving Traps

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