On July 12 a group of 10 Russian students from Project Harmony International, along with WRP, Vermont River Conservancy, and Project Harmony staff, improved public access to the White River at Clifford Park in West Hartford, VT.
In 4 hours the students built a 10-step stone staircase leading down to the river’s edge; cleared and widened a second path; and installed 2 signs to alert both park and river users about the access trails. These projects will not only improve access for users, but also reduce erosion from the park’s trails into the river.
Clifford Park is one of 3 town-owned parks maintained by the Hartford Parks & Recreation Department along the newly-formed White River Paddle Trail. The town has a long history of partnering with the WRP on river restoration projects – after Tropical Storm Irene, the WRP worked with the town, Community College of Vermont, and 150 volunteers to restore riparian vegetation along the length of the flood-damaged Clifford Park.
The White River Paddle Trail includes 30+ sites, and extends from the White River’s headwaters in Granville to its confluence with the Connecticut River in White River Junction. The impressive work done by the Project Harmony volunteers was the first official access improvement project along the White River Paddle Trail; there are several more projects planned for this summer.
Contact Jim Armbruster: jim[at]whiteriverpartnership.org or 802-763-7733.
The White River Partnership (WRP), Vermont River Conservancy (VRC), and 2 private landowners have conserved 15.4 acres of floodplain along the White River in Hancock.
Tropical Storm Irene flood waters deposited large amounts of sediment on the field, which often floods during high water events. The floodplain conservation project prohibits future development and compensates the landowners for flood-related property loss on the 15.4-acre field. Allowing the river to access this critical floodplain will reduce the speed and erosive power of flood waters before they reach Hancock village.
The WRP received a Vermont Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) grant to work with VRC on acquiring the permanent conservation easement and to recruit volunteers to help restore 50-feet of native trees along the length of the field.
The WRP has worked with the ERP, VRC, and Vermont Land Trust to complete 7 floodplain conservation projects since 2008, conserving 107.8 acres on river-front properties in Granville, Hancock, Randolph, Rochester, and Royalton.
The WRP has received ERP funds to work with VRC and 4 private landowners to complete 2 additional floodplain protection projects in 2017: conserving 12.3 acres on the White River in Hancock and 23.2 acres on the White River in Stockbridge.
Please visit our River Corridor Protection page.
The WRP has received funding from the state’s Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) to design a streambank restoration project at the Schindler gravel pit in Sharon. The gravel pit is located next to the main stem of the White River, and was used by the towns of Pomfret and Sharon for 50+ years to provide sand and gravel for road maintenance activities.
The River Corridor Plan for the White River and tributaries in the Town of Sharon identified a heightened concern for pit capture at the site, given the proximity of the pit to the river as well as eroding river banks up-and down-stream. Due in part to this finding, the Town of Sharon stopped using the gravel pit in 2011. Flooding during Tropical Storm Irene further undermined the river banks nearest the pit, so the landowner reached out to the town and the WRP for assistance.
With ERP funding, the WRP will hire an engineer to complete a project site survey and basemap; prepare draft engineering plans; coordinate an onsite review of the draft plans with project partners; prepare final plans based on input from project partners; complete and submit a State Construction General Permit; and prepare a construction cost estimate and bid form. The design project will be completed by December 31, 2016.
The WRP is partnering with the Schindler family, The Nature Conservancy, and the Town of Sharon to complete the design project. The Schindler family has entered an agreement to sell the 450-acre parcel to The Nature Conservancy, who will conserve it and add it to their adjacent White River Ledges Natural Area. The Town of Sharon will help complete restoration activities at the site to improve water quality and public health and safety.
2016 is the 20th anniversary of the White River Partnership and we hope you’ll help us celebrate! Here is a list of projects and events scheduled this year, all of which have a community engagement component:
White River Paddle Trail launch – The WRP is pleased to announce the White River Paddle Trail, an emerging network of public access sites along the White River. Visit our White River Paddle Trail map to find sites, driving directions, and more!
Trees for Streams tree planting events – In late-April and early-May the WRP will recruit hundreds of volunteers to help us plant 5,000 native trees along the White River. Visit our upcoming events page or follow us on Facebook for more information!
Water quality monitoring at 22 swimming holes – Every other week from June 1 through September 21 WRP staff and trained volunteers monitor water quality at 22 swimming holes around the watershed, and share the data with the public via email, our website, and our Facebook page.
Randolph Dam removal project – In summer 2016 the WRP will work with American Rivers, The Nature Conservancy, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Greater Upper Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and Ripple Natural Resources to remove the Randolph Dam on the Third Branch of the White River in Randolph village. The project will restore fish passage to 98 miles of cold-water trout habitat.
River cleanup events – September is Vermont’s River Cleanup Month and the WRP will partner with Watersheds United Vermont, Source to Sea, and community volunteers to remove man-made trash at White River Paddle Trail sites. Keep an eye on our upcoming events page or follow us on Facebook for more information!
WRP Annual Meeting & 20th anniversary celebration – Every year the WRP hosts an Annual Meeting to thank our members, partners, and volunteers and to celebrate our good work to improve the long-term health of the White River and its watershed. At this year’s meeting we’ll also celebrate our 20th anniversary – we hope you’ll join us!