May 19, 2015. This is the anniversary of the massacre at Peskeomscut–known today as Turners Falls, in the second year of King Philips War, 1676. Native Americans had gathered at encampments above the falls for safety and to sustain themselves on the season’s bounty of migratory fish. Women, children and the elderly were sheltered in wigwams at Riverside in Gill, and across the river in what is today’s Unity Park in Turners Falls. They were attacked as they slept. The counter attack by Native American fighters was launched from downstream–on the mid-channel island adjacent to The Rock Dam Pool, where their able-bodied men were harvesting migrating fish to feed their people.

This spring’s spawning run continued strong at Holyoke Monday, with some 20,000 shad lifted there. Upstream at Turners Falls Dam flows were tamped down from 6,300 cfs on Monday to 4,400 cfs today, leaving a significant portion of the riverbed below the dam exposed and unusable for migrating fish.

However, on Monday night at 8 p.m. the head gate flows into the Turners Falls Power Canal were again quiet as a kitten–just as they were again this morning at 8 a.m. These unusual gate settings are anomalous for migration season and it will be interesting to see how they get figured into fish passage success through the dismal environs of FirstLight’s power canal.

By 3 p.m. today head gate flows were back in their usual configuration–with churned whitewater coursing downstream and lacy ribbons of bubbly foam interweaving for some 700 feet into the first wide turn of the canal. The photo below is the accumulated muck that collects in the canal downstream. Its great habitat for carp, goldfish and snapping turtles, but nothing a wild population would ever choose to spend any time in.

This is the habitat all upstream migrants are diverted into at Turners Falls

This is the habitat all upstream migrants are diverted into at Turner Falls