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Upcoming events

Wednesday, May 29: 2019 Water Quality Monitoring season begins!

Our 19th year of monitoring water quality in the White River starts on Wednesday, May 29. WRP staff and trained volunteers will monitor 3 indicators of water quality at 22 swimming holes every other Wednesday through September 4. Data results are available the Thursday afternoon following each biweekly test date; results for the latest testing date will be posted on our website and on the WRP Facebook page.

To learn more about water quality trends in the White River watershed, read the 4-page 2018 White River Water Quality Report.

Sunday, June 9 @ 2pm: River access improvements in Gaysville

Help us improve access to the White River on Sunday, June 9 at 2pm.

The town of Stockbridge acquired the former Gaysville campground property in 2018 and a group of community members has been working with the WRP to identify public access improvement needs at the site. Volunteers should meet at 2pm at the Gaysville Post Office on Bridge Street. Dress to work outside in long pants, long sleeves, and close-toed shoes. The WRP and Stockbridge community members will provide instruction and oversight for the event as well as gloves, tools, and light snacks.

RSVP to info[at]whiteriverpartnership.org.

Stay posted on WRP projects

The WRP posts information about on-the-ground watershed improvement projects, events, and volunteer opportunities on Facebook and Instagram. We invite you to “Like” or “Follow” us in order to stay posted on our work to improve the long-term health of the White River and its watershed.

The WRP also distributes a monthly volunteer opportunity email and a biannual electronic newsletter to share project updates and more. We invite you to sign-up to receive our e-newsletter and volunteer opportunity announcements by completing the form on the right-hand side of this webpage.

Finally the WRP mails a handful of project updates and event notices directly to members over the course of each year, including our annual report, Second Sunday Events calendar, annual membership meeting invite, and more. We invite you to support our work by becoming a member today!

For more information

Please contact us for more information about our projects, upcoming events, or other ways to get involved!

 

Improving fish passage in Pomfret’s Mill Brook

The WRP is partnering with Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department (VFWD), US Fish & Wildlife Service, Greater Upper Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and the town of Pomfret to improve fish passage through the first culvert on Mill Brook by installing a new type of rubber baffle system this summer. A recent press release from the VFWD is below (see original article online).

Innovative Project to Help Fish and Other Aquatic Organisms Travel Up Mill Brook

POMFRET, VT‑-A long and steep culvert in Pomfret between the mainstem White River and Mill Brook may soon be slow enough for trout and turtles to safely travel up. Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is partnering with the White River Partnership, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Greater Upper Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited on an experimental design to retrofit this culvert to enhance aquatic organism passage. The work is being supported in part by donations for the month of the May to the Vermont Habitat Stamp.

“Wild populations of brook and rainbow trout once migrated between spawning and nursery areas in Mill Brook and rearing areas in the mainstem White River,” notes Will Eldridge, habitat biologist, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “But in recent times, a steep 15-foot-wide, 185-foot-long, corrugated metal pipe culvert has prevented fish and other river-based species from being able to move upstream from the White River into Mill Brook.”

One solution, says Eldridge, is retrofitting the culvert with baffles to create a series of steps and pools which fish and other organisms can navigate more easily. Previous attempts to install rigid baffles within this culvert have improved passage temporarily, but the designs have all failed eventually, most recently in 2014.

“We are planning to experiment with a new flexible baffle design that would bend but not break under the large boulders and ice flows that frequently move through the culvert,” says Eldridge. “The rubber material should allow for many years of continued service and be more cost-effective to buy and install than a rigid baffle.”

The flexible baffles will be installed this summer through a coordinated effort by volunteers from White River Partnership, USFWS, and Trout Unlimited volunteers.

“We’re very excited about trying out this new baffle,” says Greg Russ, project manager from White River Partnership. “It was developed in New Zealand and has been used only a few times in the U.S. We’re waiting to see if it succeeds as a long-term solution for restoring passage in Mill Brook; if it does, everyone working on road and stream infrastructure in Vermont and elsewhere in the country will be eager to adopt it.”

Eldridge agrees. “While we’re all hopeful the experiment will lead to better tools for retrofitting culverts, the fish and aquatic organisms that can soon travel up streams like Mill Brook will be the biggest winners.”

The Vermont Habitat Stamp was created by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department in 2015 to help protect Vermont’s wild places. To learn more about the stamp, the projects it supports, or to donate online, see www.vthabitatstamp.com.

Fundraising dinner series benefits 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 28, February 25, and March 25.  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 2019.

The WRP is a membership-based, nonprofit organization formed in 1996 by a group of local people who shared an interest in keeping the White River healthy. The WRP envisions a White River watershed in which individuals and communities work together to make informed decisions that result in clean water, fewer flood damages, improved access to the river, and more.

In 2019 the WRP will work with individuals, schools, towns, technical partners, and funders to:

  • Plant 4,000 native trees along the river to improve water quality and habitat;
  • Engage 500 teachers and students in hands-on watershed education programs;
  • Protect and restore 40 acres of active floodplain;
  • Monitor water quality at 22 swimming holes around the watershed;
  • Remove 2 abandoned dams; and
  • Engage 1,000 community volunteers in monitoring, restoration, and stewardship projects.

The fundraising dinner series starts on Monday, January 28.  Please RSVP if you’d like to join the WRP Board of Directors’ table at 6pm: info[at]whiteriverpartnership.org.

Developing projects in Hancock and Tunbridge

The White River Partnership (WRP) has completed an effort to identify on-the-ground projects that can address chronic water quality concerns along nearly 7 miles of the White River in Hancock and Tunbridge.

Hancock projects

The community of Hancock was hard hit during Tropical Storm Irene, which damaged infrastructure and caused devastating flooding impacts.  As a result the community is committed to becoming more resilient to future flooding events and to protecting the town’s water resources by implementing on-the-ground projects that reduce future flood damages.

The WRP received Vermont Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) funding to determine where river restoration projects would be most beneficial and to conduct outreach to 10 landowners along a 3.5-mile stretch of the Hancock Branch to garner support for on-the-ground projects.

Two landowners signed-on to implement three on-the-ground projects: a riparian buffer restoration project, a dam removal, and a floodplain restoration project. All three projects were implemented in 2018.

Tunbridge projects

The community of Tunbridge is concerned about chronic water quality issues in and around Tunbridge village. Issues include repeat flooding of village properties, a mass failure adjacent to VT Route 110 across from the village store, a mass failure at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds, and active erosion along the First Branch.

In response to these community concerns the WRP secured additional ERP funding to determine where river restoration projects would be most beneficial near Tunbridge village. The WRP reached out to 11 landowners along a 3.4-mile stretch of the First Branch to garner support for on-the-ground projects, and identified three feasible on-the-ground projects: a bioengineering project and two river corridor easement projects.

Next steps

In early-spring 2019 the WRP will recruit volunteers to harvest and install native willow stakes along the First Branch of the White River in Tunbridge. Keep an eye on our website for more information.

The WRP will also continue working with interested landowners to implement on-the-ground projects that result in clean water and fewer flood damages in Hancock and Tunbridge villages.

Working with landowners to develop and implement on-the-ground river restoration projects is one important way the WRP accomplishes its mission: bringing people together to improve the long-term health of the White River and its watershed. To learn more about current projects, visit the WRP Facebook page.

Rochester Stormwater Master Plan complete

The WRP has worked with the town of Rochester, VT Department of Environmental Conservation, and Watershed Consulting Associates to develop a Stormwater Master Plan for the village of Rochester.

Project background

The community of Rochester was hard hit during Tropical Storm Irene, which damaged infrastructure and caused devastating flooding impacts.

The community is making strides to become more resilient to future flooding events, and to protect the town’s water resources by developing a Stormwater Master Plan (SWMP). Recognizing that the future Municipal Roads General Permit will address the rural backroad network, the SWMP will target the village area where developed infrastructure and the most condensed impervious surfaces are located.

The SWMP Project was initiated by the town as a result of concerns about several stormwater runoff issues in the village. The WRP helped coordinate a site visit with technical assistance providers and town officials. Partners visited the top 4 action locations identified in the “Town of Rochester Stormwater Infrastructure Mapping Project” report.

The Project area encompasses 32 acres. Within this area the Stormwater Infrastructure Mapping report estimated that there’s the potential to implement on-the-ground projects that would remove 10,167 pounds of sediment and 56.7 pounds of nitrogen from Stormwater runoff into the White River.

Given the town’s stormwater runoff concerns and the potential to reduce significant inputs of both sediment and nitrogen, the site visit attendees agreed that all 4 action locations should be included in the Project.

Project goals

The goal of the SWMP Project was to reduce stormwater runoff in the village of Rochester. To accomplish this goal, the Project conducted an assessment to determine where stormwater runoff is generated and where it can be captured and removed efficiently by on-the-ground projects.

The resulting SWMP includes a prioritized list of projects and strategies to address/mitigate stormwater runoff, and contains recommendations to preserve natural features and functions, as well as encourage use of low impact green stormwater infrastructure.

Strategic importance

The SWMP Project was identified as a high-priority in the 2013 White River Tactical Basin Plan (Plan), which allowed the WRP to work with the town of Rochester to apply for VT Ecosystem Restoration Program funding to implement the Project in 2018.

As a next step the WRP will work with Project partners to identify funding to implement the top 3 priority on-the-ground stormwater mitigation projects.