News

5 Olde Fundraising Dinners Benefit WRP

The White River Partnership and 5 Olde Tavern in South Royalton invite you to enjoy a great dinner for a good cause on the last Monday of January, February, and March: January 29, February 26, and March 26. Eat dinner anytime between 5pm and 9pm and 5 Olde Tavern will donate 10% of your food purchases to the WRP to support our work in 2018.

In 2018 the WRP will work with individuals, businesses, schools, local and regional organizations, and state and federal agencies to:

Plant 3,500 native trees along the river to improve water quality and habitat;
Engage 500 teachers and students in hands-on watershed education programs;
Conserve and restore 10 acres of active floodplain to improve flood resilience;
Monitor water quality at 23 swimming holes around the watershed;
Replace an under-sized, stream-crossing culvert with a fish-friendly, flood-resilient structure; and
Engage 750 community volunteers in monitoring, restoration, and stewardship projects.

The fundraising dinner series starts on Monday, January 29. Please RSVP to info[at]whiteriverpartnership.org if you’d like to join the WRP Board of Directors’ table at 6pm.

Floodplains conserved in Hancock, Stockbridge

The White River Partnership (WRP), Vermont River Conservancy (VRC), Vermont River Management Program, and 4 private landowners have conserved 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 and to work with a Vermont Youth Conservation Corps crew and community volunteers to restore 50-100 feet of native trees along the length of the fields.

Since 2008 the WRP has worked with the ERP, VRC, and Vermont Land Trust to complete 9 floodplain conservation projects, conserving 148.8 acres on river-front properties in Granville, Hancock, Randolph, Rochester, Royalton, and Stockbridge.

The WRP has received ERP funds to work with VRC and a private landowner to complete a 10th floodplain protection project in 2018: conserving 9 acres on the White River in Gaysville.

Monitoring White River crayfish

Crayfish capture people’s attention: they are abundant, yet secretive and somewhat elusive, and just the right amount of scary to pick up. For all of these reasons, they have been a staple of the White River Partnership’s watershed education program since its inception in 2010.

Through the WRP crayfish unit, students and teachers learn about the important role crayfish play in the river’s food web and how the food web might be impacted by the proliferation of non-native crayfish species found in many parts of the watershed. Students also learn how to identify White River crayfish species and put those skills to use out at the river.  It’s pretty clear that students love looking for crayfish in the name of science!

Another exciting aspect of the WRP program is that the field data collected by students doesn’t just end up on a shelf. Instead it is shared with Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation scientists who use the data to enhance their understanding of crayfish distribution throughout the state. The WRP program also serves as an early-detection system since the state is constantly on the lookout for the arrival of new crayfish species. The 2017 data sharing component is being funded by a generous grant from the state’s Grant-In-Aid program.

Follow this link to learn more about crayfish and other WRP watershed education units.

Help build a river access trail

You are invited to help the White River Partnership, Vermont River Conservancy, and Town of Sharon build a river access trail on Sunday, June 11 from 2-4pm. The event will be at the new Broad Brook Access in Sharon.

Volunteers should meet at the Broad Brook Cemetery (1106 River Road) and dress to get dirty in long sleeves, long pants, and closed-toed shoes. Gloves, loppers, shovels, pick-mattocks, and light snacks will be provided – feel free to bring your own tools if you have them.

The Broad Brook Access is Sharon’s newest river access site located just downstream of the Broad Brook confluence with the White River.  This 10-acre field, located on both sides of the Broad Brook Cemetery, was recently acquired from the landowner by the Vermont River Conservancy; conserved with a permanent easement protecting open space and public access; and donated to the Town of Sharon in March 2017.

The site has long been used for informal fishing access to the mouth of Broad Brook, which is one of the most important trout spawning streams in the lower White River.  The June 11 event will build a river access trail through the existing riparian buffer to insure safe, reliable access for fishermen, paddlers, tubers, and more. Formalizing river access also allows the Broad Brook Access to be added to the online White River Water Trail map, an emerging network of publicly-accessible recreation sites along the White River.

The June 11 event is funded by a Vermont Community Foundation grant, and is part of the WRP’s Second Sunday Event series – 5 opportunities to get involved in the WRP’s work to improve the long-term health of the White River and its watershed! For more information, follow this link.

Second Sunday Events

The WRP is coordinating a Second Sunday Event series in 2017. Starting on Sunday, May 14 and running through Sunday, September 10 individuals and groups have 5 opportunities to get involved in the WRP’s work to improve the long-term health of the White River and its watershed!

All events start at 2pm; are held rain or shine; and are free-of-charge, unless otherwise noted. For more details – or to RSVP – please contact us at info[at]whiteriverpartnership.org.

May 14 at 2:00 pm – Plant trees along the White River in Stockbridge

Help us finish planting 1,000 trees in this location to improve water quality, habitat, and flood resilience. Volunteers should meet at 564 Children’s Camp Road in Gaysville. Dress to get dirty in long sleeves, long pants, and closed-toed shoes; the WRP will provide gloves, shovels, and light snacks.

June 11 at 2:00 pm – Build an access trail to the White River in Sharon

Help us build a trail to the White River across the Broad Brook Access, Sharon’s newest river access site located just downstream of the Broad Brook confluence with the White River. This 10-acre field, located on both sides of the Broad Brook Cemetery, was recently acquired from the landowner by the Vermont River Conservancy; conserved with a permanent easement protecting open space and public access; and donated to the Town of Sharon in March 2017.

Volunteers should meet at the Broad Brook Cemetery in Sharon (1106 River Road). Dress to get dirty in long sleeves, long pants, and closed-toed shoes; the WRP will provide gloves, tools, and light snacks.

July 9 at 2:00 pm – West Branch Project tour & picnic in Rochester

The WRP worked with the Green Mountain National Forest, US Fish & Wildlife Service, USDA, VTrans, private landowners, and local contractors to restore 1.5 miles of the West Branch of the White River in Rochester, using large wood structures to restore in-stream and riparian habitat. This innovative project is the first of its kind on the east coast.

Join us for a free project tour – meet at the CCC Camp parking area in Rochester (2924 Brandon Mountain Road) – and dress to walk through fields and along the river. An optional picnic fundraiser will follow the tour at 4pm; suggested donations are $20 per individual or $35 per couple/family.

August 13 at 2:00 pm – Paddle Fest from Royalton to Sharon

Join us for a paddle trip between 2 new river access sites along the White River. We’ll start at the new Gilman River Access in Royalton (124 Gilman Road) and end at the new Broad Brook Access in Sharon. Bring your own boat, paddles, and life jackets; the WRP will provide light snacks.

September 10 at 2:00 pm – River cleanup at White River access sites

Join us for a river cleanup at multiple access sites along the lower White River as part of Vermont’s River Cleanup Month and the Source to Sea events. Volunteers should meet at the parking lot just downstream of the South Royalton Bridge (103 Chelsea Street). Dress to get dirty in long sleeves, long pants, and closed-toed shoes; the WRP will provide gloves, trash bags, and light snacks.

For more information

Visit our Volunteer FAQs page for more information about WRP volunteer events. Or contact us at info[at]whiteriverpartnership.org with questions!