Sunday, October 3, 2010

Deeply shallow

After a long hot summer it also started as a very dry fall.
But drought also reveals the river’s intimate layout, and that could actually have some benefits.

There is a grassroot effort under way to request DEM, Fish & Wildlife, to designate additional catch and release fishing areas along the Wood Pawcatuck river system.

Presently there is only one C&R area, and it is on the Falls River which has been negatively impacted throughout the past dry spells.

But if designated C&R areas are to increase, where should they be located?
Where is the deepest , coldest, consistently oxiginated water during times of drought?
What sections of the river are best suited to consistently support a cold water fishery?
Maybe you have a suggestion ?

If this discussion may interest you please visit:

Thanks for any input that you may care to share.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Please consider "Green Fishing"

Now that "Opening Day" has arrived, please also consider “Green Fishing” in RI.

In this day and age of “Going Green” why not practice “recycling” our natural resources as well? Increasing Catch and Release fishing can do just that.
Do you know that even though RI has over 80, state regulated trout fishing locations, there is only one area that is designated for C&R fishing. And it isn’t on the WPR.
So now there is an independent blog to support discussion of the benefits for increased C&R designations. Perhaps one day this may also include some area of the WPR ?

If you would like to learn more, or comment on this green recreation initiative, please visit:

Saturday, February 27, 2010

My Otter Excuse

My trout fishing skills are legendary! Bad, that is. Is my inability to land the big one a result of not reading the river right, using the wrong flies and lures, and poor casting? Of course not (wink), I blame it all on the otters that seem to be living the easy life on the Wood River. This chap casually caught three yellow perch in about 15 minutes one morning this week. That is close to my total catch all last summer! But you know what, I am happy to share the piscine bounty of the Upper Wood with river otters. They are a treat to watch and a nice reminder that the ecosystem is in pretty good shape.


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bald Eagles on the Wood River

Keep your eyes open. A pair of bald eagles spent the morning on Frying Pan Pond eating carrion on the ice. There is no mistaking them -- they seem to be as big as Great Blue Herons when in flight. The (blurry) photo was taken 30 January 2010.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Remembering A Dear Friend

I knew and worked with Ray for 15 years. While working part-time, I became very friendly with two other women who also worked part-time. Because of our limited hours, we always ate lunch at our desks, grabbing a quick bite between phone calls and meetings. One Friday, however, we decided to go out to lunch. We went into Ray’s office to tell him we were leaving and would be back in about an hour. He looked up from his desk, smiled, and took his credit card from his wallet and handed it to us. “Just bring it back on Monday”, he said, laughing. We had a wonderful afternoon.

For me, that story epitomizes Ray’s character. He was always ready to give his time, his generosity and his expertise to anyone, without being asked or expected of him. The number of organizations he helped and volunteered with is almost too numerous to mention, from playing Clarinet with the Westerly Band, to sponsoring a team in almost every recreational youth sports program in Westerly, to serving on the Board of Trustees for the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association.

Ray lost his two year battle with brain cancer on Jan. 9, 2010. He leaves behind a hole in the community that will be impossible to fill and an even bigger hole in the hearts of those he leaves behind.

-Alisa Morrison, WPWA Board Member

On The Passing of Ray Cherenzia

Raymond F. Cherenzia of 110 Watch Hill Road, Westerly, "the house with the flowers", died peacefully, Jan. 9, 2010, surrounded by all his loving family and close friends after a two-year valiant battle with brain cancer. Ray was born in Westerly on Nov. 14, 1951, son of the late Salvatore and Frances (Gaccione) Cherenzia.

Ray had a lifetime of personal and professional accomplishments; however, all took a back-seat to Ray's pride and dedication to his three children, Sergio, a 2004 WPI civil engineering graduate, and recently licensed professional engineer; Damon, a 2007 civil and environmental engineering graduate from Villanova University; and Vanessa, a 2009 business marketing graduate from Sacred Heart University. He attended all of the athletic contests and academic presentations of his children at Prout High School and Sergio's and Vanessa's collegiate soccer games and attended Vanessa's college graduation three days after brain tumor surgery.

Ray's greatest attribute was his ability to connect with everyday people. He was that special person who could and always would make anyone he was around feel comfortable because anyone who has ever spent any time around him knew immediately that he was a very genuine, caring person. He always spoke to you and never at you. His concern was always his people first and himself last.

After graduation from LaSalle Academy in 1969, Ray entered Worcester Polytechnic Institute and began a lifetime commitment to the school. As an undergraduate, he joined Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and was chosen for the prestigious senior society, The Scull. He was a member of the wrestling team and in his senior year achieved All-New England status. He still holds the fifth highest pin ratio in WPI history. After earning his B.S. in Civil Engineering in 1973, he remained at WPI to complete graduate coursework and to serve as assistant wrestling coach.

Ray was the owner and creator of Cherenzia & Associates, Ltd. A civil engineering firm formerly located in Westerly for 30 plus years, now located at 99 Mechanic St., Pawcatuck, in a newly purchased beautiful 38,000 sq. ft. facility formerly owned by Harris Graphics. He was the business partner and brother of Salvatore (Sam) E. Cherenzia III; together they owned and operated the civil engineering business as well as Cherenzia Excavation, Inc. which not only performed many large site work projects but also operates two quarries in Westerly and produces many aggregate products for public and private consumption.Along with Thomas J. Liguori Jr., another longtime associate, they created and developed many large, quality projects in the area, employing many hundreds of people doing so.

Following several years of working out of the area with Metcalfe and Eddy, Engineers, Ray returned to Westerly to accept the position of Town Engineer. In 1979, he left public service and founded Cherenzia & Associates, Ltd., a full service regional civil engineering and land surveying company. He later purchased Rossi & Lewis, Inc. another local civil engineering and land surveying company. He was licensed as a Professional Engineer and Professional Land Surveyor in the states of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Professional Engineer in the State of Maine.

A 1995 Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce Key Citizen of the Year Award recipient, Ray contributed his expertise without charge to a number of local charitable organizations including serving as the construction manager for the building of the Chamber's headquarters and Olean Center addition. He also contributed the master plans for the Ocean Community YMCA, Watchaug camp site, Stand-Up for Animals and the Prout School. He has been involved many years with the Wood-Pawcatuck Watershed Association and held a position on the board of trustees since 2008. Recently, he served as the recording secretary on the Town of Westerly Sign Ordinance Study Committee. Ray was active in the Westerly Rotary Club serving as an officer, including president from 1992-93 and was a Paul Harris Fellow. He served on the board of directors of the Chamber from 1991-1994 and 2002-2005. He was also a corporator of Dime Bank.

Ray continued to give back to his alma mater, serving on multiple committees and offices in the Poly Club, the school's athletic support organization and the Alumni Association Board of Directors. In 1988, the school bestowed its Distinguished Service Award on him. He offered support to local high school juniors and seniors who were considering attending WPI and/or entering into a career in civil engineering. Ray would meet with these young men and women, give them tours of his office showing them his firm's work and the advancements in technology in the civil engineering field that he always strived to include in his company. Ray provided annual scholarships to Prout and Westerly graduates accepted to college engineering programs. He believed WPI graduates were the best prepared and gave initial employment to many graduates as junior engineers within his firm.

Ray annually sponsored a team in almost every recreational youth sports program in Westerly. Ray also started an annual company tradition of adopting a local family during the Christmas season.Ray remained active in wrestling, serving as a highly regarded referee at the college and high school levels for 25 years, including being chosen to officiate the Collegiate National Championships. He is to be inducted into the Rhode Island Wrestling Hall of Fame in March.

His firm provided the civil engineering work for many of the region's largest projects. These include the soon to be reopened Ocean House which required every permit issued by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, Division of Water Resources, including one of the largest on-site wastewater treatment facilities ever permitted.

Ray was an avid runner and biker. His love of running was so great that within days of his diagnosis and an initial brain tumor surgical removal, Ray completed the Tarzan Brown, Mystic River 5.5 mile road race. He ran nine marathons, including Boston twice as well as Ocean State and Sugarloaf and was a proud member and sponsor of the Westerly Track and Athletic Club. He summited numerous mountains including Mt. Rainer, Mt. Hood, Mt. Katahdin and Mt. Washington. Ray could often be seen biking around town with his good friend George Comolli. He also played the clarinet in the Westerly Band.

Ray would of course always be seen with Tom at many town council meetings as well as many zoning and planning board meetings throughout many area towns including Westerly and Block Island.

In addition to his beloved children, Sergio, Damon and Vanessa, his brother Salvatore (Sam) E. Cherenzia, III, and sister-in-law Cathy, he is survived by his sisters, Joan Esneault and her husband Edward of Westerly and Alice McNamara and her husband Michael of South Carolina as well as his former wife Rhonda (Zanella) Cherenzia and his fiancée Jill Kass, also of Westerly, and several aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Getting to Know the Watershed -- Lecture II

River restoration, dam removals, fish ladders -- there is a lot happening to repair the waterways in the watershed. WPWA Exec Director Chris Fox and NOAA river restoration scientist Jim Turek will brief us on all the exciting projects underway. Time: 4-6 PM, Sunday, 24 January. Place: WPWA office in Barberville. Please RSVP online at or by calling (401) 539-9017. This event is for members of the WPWA. Not a member? What a great time to join. See for membership information.

(Photo, Upper Wood in Winter)