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.

Deerfield River near Searsburg Power Station

Deerfield River near Searsburg Power Station
Place name or River name: 
Searsburg, VT
Watershed: 
Deerfield River
Latitude: 
42.871350
Longitude: 
-72.929104
Description/Comments: 

Deerfield River in Searsburg Vermont, looking downstream towards Searsburg Power Station - visible thorugh trees on right bank.

The power station was built in 1922.  Water is diverted from the Deerfield at Searsburg Reservoir, about 3 miles upstream. It flows through a penstock that consists of a wooden pipe built from timbers. The pipe flows along National Forest Road 71 and Route 9, visible from the road for much of the way. It reenters the Deerfield at this power station, generating electricity in the process. 

Read more here and here.

Deerfield River, Searsburg Bypass

Deerfield River, Searsburg Bypass
Place name or River name: 
Searsburg, VT
Watershed: 
Deerfield River
Latitude: 
42.871350
Longitude: 
-72.929104
Description/Comments: 

Deerfield River in Searsburg Bypass section, near the Searsburg-Wilmington line.  

This reach used to be largely dewatered in the summer, but in recent years improved flow regulations have restored habitat for trout and other aquatic species.

Category: 

Confluence of West Branch and Deerfield

Confluence of West Branch and Deerfield
Place name or River name: 
Readsboro, Vermont
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.770385
Longitude: 
-72.947851
Description/Comments: 

Confluence of the Deerfield River and its West Branch, in Readsboro, Vermont. The Deerfield can be seen in the distance, flowing under the route 100 bridge on the east side of town.

Water over the dam

Water over the dam
Place name or River name: 
Monroe Bridge
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.722254
Longitude: 
-72.938881
Description/Comments: 

Deerfield River water makes some interesting patterns as it flows over this dam in Monroe Bridge, MA - about a half mile below the Sherman Reservoir dam. 

West Branch Deerfield, near confluence with Deerfield

West Branch Deerfield, near confluence with Deerfield
Place name or River name: 
Readsboro, Vermont
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.770385
Longitude: 
-72.947851
Description/Comments: 

Looking upstream at the West Branch Deerfield River, from the Tunnel Street bridge in Readsboro Vermont. The confluence with the Deerfield is about 200 feet downstream from here. 

Deerfield River at confluence with West Branch

Deerfield River at confluence with West Branch
Place name or River name: 
Readsboro, Vermont
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.770385
Longitude: 
-72.947851
Description/Comments: 

Looking downstream towards the Deerfield River, at its confluence with the West Branch. The West Branch is in the immediate foreground, the Deerfield can be seen coming in from the left. 

Deerfield River below confluence with West Branch

Deerfield River below confluence with West Branch
Place name or River name: 
Readsboro, Vermont
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.762686
Longitude: 
-72.943882
Description/Comments: 

Looking upstream at the Deerfield River as it heads south from the confluence with the West Branch, just south of Readsboro. 

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Deerfield River above Sherman Reservoir - upstream view

Deerfield River above Sherman Reservoir - upstream view
Place name or River name: 
Readsboro, Vermont
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.759182
Longitude: 
-72.936360
Description/Comments: 

The Deerfield River between Readsboro Vermont and Somerset Reservoir, which straddles the Vermont-Massachusetts border.  This spot is about 1/2 mile above the head of the reservoir.  The river's gradient has dminished significantly by this point. Both upstream branches consist largely of riffles for their last mile or more.   

Category: 

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