State environmental leaders discuss concerns in Sunderland

They're still trying to determine the best plan to save the state's endangered timber rattlesnakes.

SUNDERLAND, Mass. (WWLP)- State Wildlife leaders met in Western Massachusetts Tuesday to address a range of concerns, from rattlesnakes to climate.

Board members from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife met at the town hall in Sunderland to discuss several issues related to the environment, one of them being the drought.

“We are facing different issues with fish and wildlife in the way they are both reacting to the drought,” said George Peterson, Commissioner of Fish & Game. “The drought is ongoing and seems to be getting worse across the state.”

The board went to the Sunderland aquatic resource center that’s focused on fresh-water shellfish.

“Fresh water mussels are incredibly important,” said Brandi Van Roo, Wildlife Biologist and Board Member for the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. “They are filter-feeders so they give us an indication of the quality of our waterways, which is in everybody’s best interest.”

They’re still trying to determine the best plan to save the state’s endangered timber rattlesnakes.

Jack Buckley, Director of the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, told 22News, “At the hearing in Athol, we made a commitment, the secretary, commissioner, and myself that we would have a more public engagement process around that rattlesnake plan and now we’re in the process of trying to evaluate how to do that.”

At this time, the state still has plans to start colonizing the Quabbin with one to ten snakes next spring.

The board also wants to replenish the trout population that they believe is decreasing because of the drought. They plan to add more of them to rivers, lakes, and ponds across the state.

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