Having fun at the cleanup. It's not all hard work.

It’s not all hard work.

May 16 was our first river cleanup of the year.  The cleanup was a joint effort of BEAT and the Housatonic Valley Association. Six teams of volunteers, one in canoes, hauled trash from the East Branch of the river, from Peck’s Brook along Pecks Road, from the Linden Street area, and from the area around Wahconah Park.   A very big thank you to Pine Cone Hill for providing a barbecue lunch for our hungry volunteers after the cleanup, and to Panera’s in Pittsfield for providing the snacks that got us started at the beginning of the day. And thank you to the City of Pittsfield for once again agreeing to pick up the mountains of trash our volunteers piled up along the river. Join us for our next river cleanup, scheduled for August 8, 9am at Fred Garner Park in Pittsfield.

BEAT opposes proposed natural gas pipeline.

Pipeline presentation in Cummington, MA

Pipeline presentation in Cummington, MA

BEAT learned early about the Tennessee Gas Pipeline’s proposal to build a natural gas pipeline across Massachusetts from Richmond to Dracut. We were the first to speak out publicly, and have met with local, county, state, and federal representatives, and have consulted with state and national environmental and legal organizations. We believe that there is no need for this pipeline, that most of the natural gas coming through this pipeline will be exported to Europe and/or Asia, and that there are safer, greener, and less costly alternatives that are being ignored by industry and industry-friendly regulators.

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped cleanup the river!

Thank you all for helping cleanup the river again this year! BEAT partnered with the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) to organize several Housatonic River cleanups for 2013. Two of the […]

The River-Cleanup Crew

Thank you all for helping cleanup the river again this year! BEAT partnered with the Housatonic Valley Association (HVA) to organize several Housatonic River cleanups for 2013. It’s amazing how much “stuff” we pull out of the river, and it’s equally amazing how much fun we have doing it.  Join us for the next clean up.  We’d love to meet you.

Improving Stream Crossings workshops well attended

A washed out stream crossing.

A washed-out stream crossing

BEAT was one of many partners who came together, lead by Julia Blatt of Massachusetts Rivers Alliance, to organize three Improving Stream Crossings workshops for western Massachusetts. These workshops were very well attended by municipal highway, planning and DPW staff, municipal officials, conservation commissioners, engineering consultants, regional planning staff, state agency staff, environmental organization staff, volunteers, and others with an interest in improving stream crossings.

Connecting for Wildlife

Connecting for Wildlife, funded by the William P Wharton Trust, strives to improve habitat connectivity and motorist safety in Western Massachusetts.

Roads don’t have to be this dangerous for wildlife.

 BEAT’s Connecting for Wildlife program strives to improve habitat connectivity and motorist safety in Western Massachusetts. Roads represent a significant barrier to wildlife movement, subdividing the landscape, fragmenting and degrading habitat, and given traffic, acting as a conspicuous source of wildlife mortality. To address this issue BEAT is collaborating with transportation planners, biologists, universities, and locals to identify, survey, and analyze road segments within linkage zones (also known as wildlife corridors).

Thank You to First Church and to All the Very Talented Musicians!

Event poster.  Beats for BEAT.

First Church says, “This Is Our Response To Violence.”

On Sunday, June 2, at 3pm, The First Church of Pittsfield hosted an afternoon of blues, jazz, rock and soul music to benefit Berkshire Environmental Action Team. The theme for the day was “This Is Our Reply To Violence.”  We can’t thank Pastor James Lumsden and all of the other musicians enough for providing such an uplifting, moving, and rousing event, and for helping BEAT in the process.

BEAT’s Wetlands Protection Act Tutorial

Housatonic River scene

The Wetland Protection Act protects one of our county’s most valuable resources.

Wetlands are valuable resources, and one of the most useful tools we have for protecting those resources is the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act. Here is a tutorial to help you understand this important law and how citizens can interact with their local Conservation Commissions.



VICTORY! BEAT Gets State To Update Its Stormwater Calculations

A washed out stream.

Not just an environmental issue, but a public safety issue as well.

Pressure from BEAT has resulted in the state updating its stormwater calculations in accord with climate change. This will make all of our road crossings safer during and after storms. Massachusetts was the 50th state to update these calculations.



GE Completes Vernal Pool Survey. Results Say PCB Remediation Works.

Workers documenting life in the vernal pool

Documenting a successful remediation.

As part of its campaign to evade its responsibility to clean its PCBs from the Housatonic River, GE has been arguing for years that any remediation of vernal pools would destroy those ecosystems.  A new study, conducted by GE and its contractors, and overseen by the EPA, shows that the Pittsfield vernal pool remediation was a huge success.  Now we need to push for remediation of the remaining vernal pools along the river.

Puppets Involve Students in Environmental Stewardship

 Doctor Augie's puppet theater.

Letting puppets tell the environmental story.

Puppets are a great way to engage people in learning about our water and how to keep it clean. BEAT has teamed up with Dr. Augies under a grant under a grant from the Berkshire Environmental Endowment, a fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, to bring fantastic puppet theater to area schools. BEAT and Dr. Augies are working with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and the City of Pittsfield’s Department of Public Services, and with a student from Berkshire Community College’s Environmental Sciences Department to create fantastic puppet shows focusing on water quality and what people can do to protect water quality in their community.

GE Video Debunked By BEAT

Before and after images of a remediated vernal pool

The vernal pool: Before and After.

What’s the real scoop on the claims being made by GE in its attempt to avoid its responsibility? We at BEAT have found ourselves responding to the same question many times. Which of the PCB cleanup solutions for the Housatonic River does BEAT support? The concern has been generated by the distribution by GE of a 25-minute video that presents GE’s view on the subject. The video has been shown on television and has been mailed to residents of Berkshire County. We welcome this increased concern and interest, especially if people look farther than the video for answers to a very important question. Here is BEAT’s reply to GE’s video.

Troubled Bridge Over Troubled Water

Collapsed bridge over the Housatonic River

Collapsed bridge.

Although much of the damage caused by Hurricane Irene last fall was immediately apparent, one of the storm’s victim’s was hidden from view in a secluded area of Pittsfield near New Lenox Road. An old metal bridge that seemed to lead from nowhere to nowhere fell into the Housatonic River generating headaches, expenses, and work.

Pittsfield Fined for Bright Green into the Housatonic River

A bright green goo flows into the Housatonic River.

Green goo flows into the river

BEAT received an email with a photograph showing a bright green liquid flowing into the Housatonic River at the Elm Street bridge in Pittsfield.  The question was, who was responsible, and what could be done.  Read the story here.