The RiverSmart Communities program combines social and river science, institutional and policy research, and community outreach at the University of Massachusetts Amherst to research and address river floods in New England. It is our vision that river management can restore the environmental integrity of rivers while ensuring that New England communities thrive in a world where floods naturally occur. To make this vision possible, our work aims to help New England’s communities become river-smart.
River-smart: Managing rivers and riverside landscapes, as well as our own actions and expectations, so people and communities are more resilient to river floods. Specifically: reducing flood severity, flood damage, and flood costs by understanding and accommodating the natural dynamics of rivers and river floods.
A key goal is to offer ideas and tools that can be used by people and groups across New England – land and river managers, riverside property owners, policy makers, government agency staff, community leaders, grass-roots activists, and others – so they can creatively build and advocate for systems that work for their own states and communities.
In this website you can find summaries of the many projects included in the RiverSmart Communities program. You can also find educational and outreach materials that may be used to promote sustainable river management in your community.
Downstream view of Green River from bridge. Near Hinesburg Road in Guilford, VT. At the very end of this stretch, the river turns sharply right and begins flowing south for the remainder of its journey to the Deerfield River.
Covered bridge over Green River, Guilford Vermont.
Route 2 bridge over Cold River. Damaged by Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, repaired by Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Beavers have dammed the brook just upstream of where it crosses under Hill View Road (aka Maple Street).
Looking downstream towards Conway center. Heavy rains in previous days caused minor flooding in this meadow.
Cold River along Route 2 during Tropical Storm Irene.
Upwards of 7" of rain fell in the area when Tropical Storm hit. Rain falling on steep slopes created many ephemeral streams that washed water and debris onto and over Route 2, contributing to erosion problems on the downhill side of the road.
Glacial Potholes, Shelburne Falls - inundated by high water, June 14, 2013. The river was many times larger than this during Tropical Storm Irene.
Deerfield River at Shelburne Falls dam, June 14, 2013. View from the west shore.
Although water was quite high on this day, flows were dramatically higher during Tropical Storm Irene, as can be seen in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p47txwmuwCY.
To see a larger viersion of this June 14, 2013 image, open this link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/79718069@N00/21150384421/in/album-72157633607581007/