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.

Old riprap

Old riprap
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Looking across the Green River to some old riprap, stabilizing the bank below Green River Road. From the looks of it, this has been in place for some long time.

Timber Crib Dam

Timber Crib Dam
Place name or River name: 
Guilford, Vermont
Watershed: 
Green River
Latitude: 
42.775659
Longitude: 
-72.667474
Description/Comments: 

Crib dam on Green River, just under covered bridge in Guilford, Vermont.

Deerfield River along Forest Road 71 - Riprapped section

Deerfield River along Forest Road 71 - Riprapped section
Place name or River name: 
Searsburg Vermont
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.919430
Longitude: 
-72.968387
Description/Comments: 

For these and following photos, we have returned to Forest Road 71 and the Deerfield River.  Riprap can be found in several locations, like this one. 

This spot, as are pretty much all the stops on this tour west of Harriman Reservoir, is within the Green Mountain National Forest.

West Branch Deerfield, upstream view

West Branch Deerfield, upstream view
Place name or River name: 
Readsboro Vermont
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.807745
Longitude: 
-72.972856
Description/Comments: 

The West Branch of the Deerfield runs right next to Route 100 as it flows towards Readsboro. In this stretch it is on the west side of the road. 

Cataracts on the West Branch

Cataracts on the West Branch
Place name or River name: 
Readsboro Vermont
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.782735
Longitude: 
-72.960186
Description/Comments: 

The West Branch of the Deerfield River, just before it passes under Route 100. 

Culvert under Johnny bean Brook, Main Poland Road, Conway MA

Culvert under Johnny bean Brook, Main Poland Road, Conway MA
Place name or River name: 
Johnny Bean Brook, Conway
Watershed: 
South River, into Deerfield River
Latitude: 
42.508008
Longitude: 
-72.712872
Description/Comments: 

Johnny Bean Brook flows through this culvert under Main Poland road, about 200 feet from its confluence with the South River.  This culvert is listed in the New England Stream Crossing (NESC) database. It is considered a significant barrier to aquatic organism passage, especially in low water conditions. To see why, check out this entry on the database:
http://www.streamcontinuity.org/cdb2/display_crossing.cfm?crossingID=10472

Johnny Bean Brook upstream view

Johnny Bean Brook upstream view
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Looking upstream on Johnny Bean Brook from Main Poland Road in Conway.  This image shows two point bars, on the inside of successive meanders.  Notice deposites of sand, gravel and cobble on each point bar (some deposits are hidden by fallen leaves).  The larger deposits tend to be closer to the stream, which is typical, as these will drop out sooner during high flows than do finer sediments, and are thus less likely to travel farther from the main stream channel. 

Route 2 bridge damage 2 days after Irene

Route 2 bridge damage 2 days after Irene
Date: 
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Place name or River name: 
Florida / Savoy line, MA
Watershed: 
Cold River
Latitude: 
42.633331
Longitude: 
-72.974254
Description/Comments: 

Damage to Route 2 bridge, at Cold River / Black Brook confluence.  Photo taken 2 days after Irene.

Aerial view Cold River and Black Brook

Place name or River name: 
Florida / Savoy line
Watershed: 
Cold River
Description/Comments: 

In this Google Maps aerial view, Black Brook can be seen entering the Cold River from the south, immediately upstream of the Route 2 bridge. It is believed that high flows from Black Brook pushed rocks and water well out into the Cold River and into the road and bridge on the north shore, causing the scour that damaged the bridge.

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