Naugatuck Pomperaug Trout Unlimited Chapter # 281 History


Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter TU “Brief” History

First chartered as the Pomperaug Regional Chapter in 1976; name changed to Naugatuck Valley Chapter Trout Unlimited in 1985 and to Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter in 2002.

Highlights of Accomplishments in the Naugatuck River Watershed
Note: Prior to 1985 there was no concerted effort by conservation organizations to restore the Naugatuck River.

More than 40 river clean-ups were completed, 10,000 tree seedlings and bushes were planted, 18,000 trout, 3,000 broodstock Atlantic salmon and several hundred American shad were stocked, scores of bird houses were built and erected, at least $40,000 was spent on these projects; money which came from fund raisers, grants and donations.

Note: about 1,000 volunteers who in total devoted at least 10,000 hours working to improve the water quality and riparian environments did all work. Volunteers came from members of: TU, NRWA, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Zebras, 4-H, science classes grades 5-12, ecology and conservation clubs, civic and religious organizations, fire, police, recreation and public works departments.

TU Directors testified at many DEP hearings and wrote letters supporting the improvement of the water quality in the Naugatuck River Watershed.

TU and NRWA, Inc. were instrumental in the following accomplishments: supervising and funding River Stewards, opening the Naugy to fishing year long from the Kinneytown Dam south, extending the salmon season through March, petitioning for No Fishing Thermal Refuges at river/stream confluences from July 15-August 31, adding the Naugy to the DEP sea-run trout program and supporting a TMA and dam removals on the Naugy and Mad rivers, sponsoring three Eagle Scout programs and several scholarships to senior students who worked on conservation projects

River Stewards 1998-2004
The first River Steward Jonathan Ploski worked out of an office in the Seymour Town Hall. River Steward Harry White worked out of an office in Beacon Falls; space donated by Frank Hoinsky and River Steward Robbette Schmidt worked from an office in her home in Waterbury.

Here is a sample of the work that was done by the river stewards. In aggregate, the three river stewards conducted at least 20 river clean-ups, planted hundreds of trees and bushes, attended scores of meetings with local, regional and state officials and committees, worked on planning of River Bend Park in Beacon Falls, responded to oil spills and suspected pollution locations, participated in discussions about Greenways, Pin Shop Pond, Chase Brass site and dam removal, worked on Brass City Fishing Tournament, made about 15 presentations to various nature centers, groups, classes at schools and organizations, helped stock shad, herring, trout and salmon in the Naugatuck River, participated in surveys of fish and insect life in the Naugatuck River and some of its tributaries and tributary enhancement projects. The detailed reports of work done are in the River Steward file. There are more than 100 pages of River Steward Reports.

2005- 5/2009
Chapter Accomplishments -- Several river clean-ups and the River Bend Park project completed, participated in: greenway/river project discussions and 2009 Kayak Race Festival, sponsored Trout In the Classroom and Salmon In the Classroom programs in schools, initiated the improvement of stream banks and fish habitat at Jack’s Brook, supported the removal of dams, enhanced its website with information about the Naugatuck River Watershed, conducted scores of fly tying classes and several fly casting clinics, co-sponsored fishing derbies, and fishing classes.

Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter President -- Mike Mackniak
Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter -- A founder and Director – Bob Gregorski

Trout Unlimited Chapter # 281 Early History 1976-1984

Note: The history of Chapter #281 is a work in progress. Researched and written by
Bob Gregorski (6-1-09)

Changes in Chapter #281 Names
Pomperaug Regional Chapter Fall 1976 – 1984
Naugatuck Valley Chapter 1985- March 2002.
Naugatuck-Pomperaug Chapter April 2002 -

Fall 1976 Tom Pero from TU National invited the public to a meeting to discuss the formation of a new chapter in the greater Waterbury area. The meeting was held in the basement meeting room of the Congregational Church in Middlebury. In November 1976, the first officers and directors (Founders and Charter members) were:
Neil Kingsnorth (president), Mike Stephens (vice president), Bob Gregorski (treasurer), Jeff LaCaria (secretary), Fred Kaufman (Director) and Joe Rinaldi (membership).
Note: In the early years, the monthly meetings were held in the cafeteria of Pomperaug High School.

Highlights of the early years 1976- 1984

1977-1980 Whitlock-Vibert Boxes were stocked with 65,000 Bitteroot Brown and
5,000 Donaldson Rainbow Trout Eggs in: Sprain Brook, Nonnewaug, Weekeepeemee and Pomperaug rivers. Mike Stephens was lead person.

12/15/76 Lou Tabory was a guest speaker.

3/29/78 OPEN HOUSE A variety of demonstrations were available to the public. It was well attended.

1977-79 Kingsnorth and Gregorski were key Chapter members in the following three restoration/construction projects; Relocation of Route 8 through Naugatuck–Beacon Falls (they gave input regarding “V” deflectors, tributary confluences and huge boulder placement in the Naugatuck River; widening and rip-raping the banks of Sprain Brook section from Route 47 to the Weekeepeemee River and Pomperaug River above Heritage Village River Gardens down stream through the golf course. In the later two, the Chapter filed for and received a Cease Work Order from the Court. The contractors had been removing all gravel on the river bottom excavating down to clay and removing all vegetation from the banks that were to be covered with stone riprap and no vegetation. A compromised was reached and the projects completed under the watchful eyes of Chapter members.

11/17/79 Charlie Fox, the nationally known author of “Rising Trout” and
“The Wonderful World of Trout” and was guest speaker for the Chapter.

3/7/84 Steelhead controversy -- Some TU Chapter directors supported the establishment of a steelhead fishery in the lower Naugatuck River while TU National and some Naugatuck Valley Chapter Directors worked against it. The support group had the backing of State Senator Skowronski.

Neil Kingsnorth and Bob Gregorski (right to left ) two of the Chapter Founders received an award for their conservation work from the Housatonic Valley Association in 11/92. An award from the Chapter for twenty years of dedicated service was given to them in the fall 1996.

As of: June 1, 2009

Note: There will be more highlights added as they are found in the research being done.