News Archive

Welcome to our new Board Member, Matisse!

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

This spring, the Board at Vermont River Conservancy were pleased to welcome a new member to our team, Matisse Bustos Hawkes!

Matisse shared her interest in serving on our Board and her love for Vermont and its waters with us:

I grew up in Southern California and my family’s frequent visits to our public beaches were a formative part of my childhood. In my college years and well into adulthood I lived in New York City, surrounded by water that was intrinsic to the city’s identity, vital to its economy, and polluted to the point of being a punchline to frequent jokes. When I moved to Vermont about 6 years ago with my husband and young son- it was the first time I had ever lived more than a 30 minute drive from an ocean. I gravitated to the Wrightsville Reservoir, Lake Elmore, Lake Caspian and swimming holes in Central Vermont that provided me with the connection and accessibility to water that feels fundamental to my existence.

 

In my time in Vermont, I’ve also learned a bit about the human impact on our water bodies, like the blue algae blooms that prevent swimming each summer in Lake Champlain, and the threats to habitat in various locations due to development. I have a lot to learn about best practices for conservation and public access to natural resources, but I believe my life-long appreciation for the recreational and life-sustaining properties of public waters would be a great entree to building a relationship with VRC.

 

I hold a B.A. in History and Latin American Studies from NYU and I have worked in nonprofits for almost my entire professional career. For the last 14 years, I have worked at the New York City-based international human rights organization WITNESS whose mission is to make it possible for anyone, anywhere to use video and technology to protect and defend human rights. Currently, I serve as the Associate Director of Communications and Engagement. Again, I would be very interested to learn how I can put my skills and experience to work for my adopted home state and the natural resources I hope that my children and theirs will safeguard and be able to enjoy for many years to come.

River Gala Tickets On Sale Now!

Monday, July 30th, 2018

We are excited to invite you to the Vermont River Conservancy’s second annual River Gala!  Tickets are on sale now at Seven Days!  Join us on Saturday, August 25th, 5-8pm for good conversations, delicious food from Bon Temps and Vermont Creamery, and a beautiful evening at the Knoll Farm in Waitsfield, Vt.

Get out of your swim suits and pull on your fancy duds for this fundraising celebration of Vermont Rivers and the work the Vermont River Conservancy and others are doing statewide to protect them.  Remember that the gala sold out last year, so get your tickets early!  We look forward to spending our evening with you.

Save the Date for VRC’s 2nd Annual River Gala!

Friday, June 29th, 2018

Please save the date for the Vermont River Conservancy’s 2nd Annual River Gala!

Take in the beautiful scenery at Knoll Farm and celebrate Vermont rivers and the work the Vermont River Conservancy and others are doing statewide to protect them. This year will feature the delicious food of Bon Temps Gourmet, and different cheeses from the unique and tasty Vermont Creamery. Tickets will go on sale soon! Last year this event SOLD OUT, so we hope you will get your tickets early for this year’s River Gala. We look forward to seeing you there!

VRC Welcomes Summer Stewardship Intern

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

VRC is happy to welcome Summer Stewardship Intern Eva Ryan to join the team and help monitor our protected sites during the summer months of 2018. Prior to working toward her Masters in Environmental Law and Policy from Vermont Law School, Eva received her BA from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, in Environmental Policy, Institutions and Behavior. The areas of study in which Eva is passionate about are the issues surrounding water quality and quantity and how these issues intersect with agriculture, food systems and their social and economic impacts. Eva currently lives in South Royalton, and in her free time enjoys being outdoors hiking and swimming with her pup Loki, or working in her garden.

VRC Receives EPA Grant to Restore Floodplain

Friday, April 27th, 2018

VRC is in line to receive a $200,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Brownfields Program to restore a 12-acre parcel along the Whetstone Brook in Brattleboro to a functioning floodplain. “Removing contaminated soils from the “Sawdust Alley” property in downtown Brattleboro is a crucial first step in the restoration of a 12-acre flood plain on Whetstone Brook that will alleviate flood damage to downstream properties,” said Steve Libby, Executive Director of the Vermont River Conservancy. Read more here.

VRC Works With Partners to Protect Land Along the White River

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018

Below is an excerpt from an original blog post by the White River Partnership found here

The Vermont River Conservancy recently partnered with the White River Partnership (WRP), Vermont River Management Program, and 4 private landowners to conserve 41 acres of floodplain along the White River in Hancock and Stockbridge.

The 14.2-acre Hancock project site is located just upstream of Hancock village, and just downstream of a 15.4-acre floodplain conserved in 2016.  Tropical Storm Irene flood waters washed across and deposited large amounts of sediment on these hay fields, highlighting the need to protect the fields for floodplain function.  In sum the 2 Hancock project sites protect active floodplain along 3,300 feet of the White River.

The 26.8-acre Stockbridge project site is located just upstream of Gaysville village and, unlike the Hancock project site, sits 30 feet above the White River.  Instead of water spreading out across the fields, flooding from Tropical Storm Irene scoured 138,000 cubic yards of material from the parcel’s streambanks.  This catastrophic erosion highlighted the parcel’s vulnerability and the need to protect it from future development.

The floodplain conservation projects prohibit future development and compensate the landowners for flood-related property loss.  Allowing the river to reconnect to these critical floodplains will reduce the speed and erosive power of flood waters before they reach the Hancock and Gaysville villages.

The WRP received a Vermont Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) grant to work with VRC on acquiring the permanent conservation easement.

 

Help us protect Huntington Gorge today!

Thursday, March 1st, 2018

Vermont River Conservancy and the Richmond Land Trust have a rare opportunity to conserve the historic and scenic Huntington Gorge.  These special 3.3 acres include a spectacular river gorge and waterfall formed by a narrow gap in the bedrock schist underlying the Huntington River as it flows toward its confluence with the Winooski River. Over time, flowing water has sculpted the rock walls into dramatic chutes and bowls which create stunning cascades, particularly during periods of high water. The Gorge has been a home to over a century of mills, and is a popular destination for generations of Richmond residents and visitors.

Respecting the power and beauty of Huntington Gorge is vital for visitor safety and enjoyment.  Together, with your help, Vermont River Conservancy and the Richmond Land Trust plan to improve signage and trails, maintain the current uses of the site, and manage the site in conjunction with the Lower Huntington Gorge Preserve ½ mile downstream, conserved by Richmond Land Trust in 1995.

photo credit: Lou Borie

With your support, we can ensure Huntington Gorge is well managed with signage, safe trails, and sufficient parking for visitors to safely enjoy it.  With major funding from Vermont Housing and Conservation Board and the Town of Richmond Conservation Fund secured, help us close the gap.  You can help us preserve and manage this Vermont treasure by giving a donation today!

Huntington Gorge takes my breath away every time I visit. I’m glad it can be permanently protected and managed so future generations can enjoy its beauty like I have.”

                   ~ Patty Brushett, Richmond Resident

North Branch Cascades Trail Stormwater Assessment Completed

Friday, December 1st, 2017

A stormwater reduction plan has been developed for an abandoned section of the Vermont Rt 12 road bed in Worcester and Elmore. Engineering firm Malone and Macbroom identified 20 problematic sites and designed mitigation systems to slow the velocity of runoff flow, allow for the deposition of sediments, and appropriately deliver treated stormwater to the North Branch of the Winooski River.

Identified problems included poor drainage, ruts and settling of the former roadbed, failed culverts, erosion and headcuts. Proposed solutions include removing sediment, installing sediment traps, lowering berms, improving cross drainage, filling and stabilize eroded sites and ruts, stabilizing scour, and replacing failed culverts. Work to address these sites is planned for 2018, using a mix of contractor, youth crew, and volunteer labor.

This project is part of an initiative to develop a one-mile trail along the North Branch of the Winooski River, a wild and scenic river that flows from Elmore to Montpelier. This is a scenic stretch of river with numerous cascades, waterfalls, and swimming holes. The trail will be the centerpoint of an extensive conservation effort recently completed by the Vermont Land Trust and Vermont River Conservancy. Funding for the assessment was provided by the state Ecological Restortaion Grant program and the Vermont Watershed Grants program.

 

4th river corridor easement on the Wild Branch completed

Monday, October 9th, 2017

IMG_1791

“They don’t call it the Wild Branch for nothing” say the landowners living along its banks in Wolcott.  Historic straightening and channeling have tried to tame the Wild Branch, but instead only increased the severity of damage when stormwater from heavy rain surges down this narrow river valley.

Many significant flooding events, especially in 1995 and 2011, have caused the Wild Branch to adjust and meander throughout its corridor – the river valley – moving water and sediment with it.  Bridges and culverts are replaced or enlarged after these floods, and development rights are bought from affected landowners through FEMA, but little is done to restore the river’s natural equilibrium.

In October 2017, VRC protected 12 more acres of open field and forested river banks along the Wild Branch, the 4th such easement in 3 years.  By protecting her land with a River Corridor Easement, Ms. McCrumb is joining with other landowners who will forever allow the river to reestablish equilibrium in its natural river corridor.  In partnership with Trees for Streams and the Lamoille County Natural Resource Conservation District, native trees and shrubs have been planted along the river’s bank to increase the riparian buffer where needed.  With over 51 acres of river corridor conserved, the Wild Branch might just be a little more wild, and a little less damaging.

 

Swimming made more accessible on the Williams River

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Chester is nestled in the Green Mountains, and a small pull-off on the Green Mountain Turnpike just a mile from the Village Center will lead you down a newly constructed path to the Williams River.  Locals call this beloved swimming hole “Rainbow Rock” after the large and striated bedrock outcrop that protrudes into the Williams River just downstream of its confluence with the Middle Branch.  And there forms a large, deep, cool water pool – perfect for swimming!

Most hot days in Chester will find a few locals swimming at Rainbow Rock, sometimes with their dogs, often with their kids or friends.  Other days find anglers casting a line, or a volunteer from the Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance collecting water samples.  And now walking down to the river’s edge is easier than ever before.

When the Vermont River Conservancy was first contacted by the landowners, the trail leading down to Rainbow Rock was a steep and direct pitch to the river, heavily eroded and festooned with exposed roots, a difficult descent for most.  And storm runoff would rush off Green Mountain Turnpike straight into the river.

Vermont River Conservancy, with funding support from Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Fieldstone Foundation, Jane B. Cook Foundation, VRC Swimming Hole Fund, and the generous support of many local donors, and in partnership with the Town of Chester and the Chester Conservation Committee, conserved public access to forever keep this swimming hole open to the public.

Immediately after purchasing the property, conserving it, and transferring it to the Town of Chester, Vermont River Conservancy built a new trail with a gentler pitch, a switchback, and improved drainage.  Now Rainbow Rock is easier than ever to visit, and will always be accessible for all.

Latest News

Welcome to our new Board Member, Matisse!

This spring, the Board at Vermont River Conservancy ... more »

River Gala Tickets On Sale Now!

We are excited to invite you to the Vermont ... more »

Save the Date for VRC’s 2nd Annual River Gala!

Please save the date for the Vermont River ... more »

VRC Welcomes Summer Stewardship Intern

VRC is happy to welcome Summer Stewardship ... more »

VRC Receives EPA Grant to Restore Floodplain

VRC is in line to receive a $200,000 grant ... more »

VRC Works With Partners to Protect Land Along the White River

–Below is an excerpt from an original ... more »


See All »