307 Applebee Rd, Milton Mills, NH 03852

Branch River Paddlers enjoyed the day and learned about stream ecology

Moose Mountains Regional Greenways

Box 191, Union, NH  03887





Submission Date:  5/31/2019 

Branch River Paddlers enjoyed the day and learned about stream ecology

On Memorial Day weekend, approximate forty paddlers turned out for an opportunity to glide down the lovely winding Branch River in Milton Mills while enjoying sightings of wildlife and basking in the sunshine of one of the first warm days of the season. The Branch River Paddle is offered annually by Moose Mountains Regional Greenways (MMRG) and Branch Hill Farm/Carl Siemon Family Charitable Trust (CSFCT).

Colin Lawson and Joel DeStasio of Trout Unlimited were guest presenters. The two work to restore Eastern brook trout habitat in key New England watersheds and were a wealth of information about stream ecology.

Lawson pointed out that while all the fish species seen that day were warm water species (bass, sunfish, shiners, and fallfish, including pebble nests), the significant amount of undeveloped and protected landscape along the Branch River means that there is likely cold groundwater influence on the river. In forested land, where rain water can sink slowly into the soil rather than running off the surface, the water cools and adds to the groundwater resource. He also talked about how healthy river systems require unimpeded flow and the importance of installing the correct size infrastructure, such as culverts, under roads or other stream crossings.

DeStasio called attention to large-wood structures present at different locations along the river, which resulted from natural processes of trees falling and jamming as they floated downstream, so that they are now secure during high flows. He explained the habitat benefits for fish of such instream wood, including refuge from predators, the development of deep scour pools, and relief from higher velocity flows.

Paddlers were delighted to spot a mother mallard duck and her many fuzzy-looking chicks in the reeds at the edge of the stream and bright yellow marsh marigolds on the river banks. One father and son team energetically scooped up an old tire and other trash into their canoe, greatly appreciated by those who live along the Branch River. Another young man couldn’t resist trying out a rope swing hanging over the water.

After the Paddle, local Governor’s Inn owner and paddling enthusiast Herman Ejarque expressed his pleasure. “We really enjoyed the Paddle! A very well planned and organized event. The Branch River is beautiful and it was a fun day. Count us in next year!”

MMRG, a non-profit land trust, works to conserve and connect important water resources, farm and forest lands, wildlife habitats, and recreational land in Brookfield, Farmington, Middleton, Milton, New Durham, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro. Throughout the year, MMRG offers many educational opportunities to inform all ages about the benefits of our region’s natural resources; see www.mmrg.info. MMRG thanks business sponsor of this event, M&M Boat Storage of Sanbornville.

Branch Hill Farm/CSFCT is a private operating foundation whose mission is to conserve land, produce quality timber products, and educate people about sound forestry practices and conservation. For more information, visit www.branchhillfarm.org.


Photo taken by Amy Gardner
Mallard duck and chicks – Photo taken by Amy Gardner
Photo taken by Amy Gardner
Weeds in current – Photo taken by Amy Gardner


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