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.

From Deerfield treatment plant

From Deerfield treatment plant
Place name or River name: 
Deerfield MA
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.550931
Longitude: 
-72.610729
Description/Comments: 

High Water on the Deerfield River as it runs past the Deerfield water treatment plant, off to the right. The plant is located behind the Deerfield Academy. 

Water was high from recent rains in late February, 2016 - a year nearly devoid of snow.

Floodplain after Irene

Place name or River name: 
Deerfield, Massachusetts
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.547110
Longitude: 
-72.614598
Description/Comments: 

Aerial view of Deerfield River  a few days after Tropical Storm Irene passed through in August 2011.  Deerfield Academy is at the left of the photo, Route 91 is to the right. Waters have receded somewhat, but there is ample evidence of recent flooding and sediment deposition in agricultural fields and on the grounds of the academy.

Deerfield River below Deerfield Academy - after Irene

Place name or River name: 
Deerfield, MA
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.552631
Longitude: 
-72.614988
Description/Comments: 

Farms and fields flooded after Tropical Storm Irene.  This photo shows widespread deposition of sediment and damage to crops from the storm. The Old Deerfield treatment plant can be seen in the upper left quadrant of the image. It is adjacent to the river and at the edge of an expanse of agricultural land.  As can be seen in the photo, large swaths of corn fields were destroyed by overflowing waters and sediment deposits. Some of these are well away from the river channel, indicating how far flood flows extended.

From Route 5 bridge, Greenfield

From Route 5 bridge, Greenfield
Place name or River name: 
Greenfield MA
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.569444
Longitude: 
-72.592012
Description/Comments: 

The Deerfield River from the Route 5 bridge on the south side of Greenfield.  

The municipal golf course is on  the right, behind the thin like of riparian trees.

Deerfield River from Mill Village Road - upstream view

Deerfield River from Mill Village Road - upstream view
Place name or River name: 
Mill Village Road, Deerfield MA
Watershed: 
Deerfield River
Latitude: 
42.523938
Longitude: 
-72.614322
Description/Comments: 

Deerfield River from Mill Village Road in Deerfield Massachusetts.

Old Deerfield and Deerfield Academy are about a mile downstream of this spot.

Deerfield River from Mill Village Road - upstream view

Deerfield River from Mill Village Road - upstream view
Date: 
Friday, February 26, 2016
Place name or River name: 
Mill Village Road, Deerfield MA
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.523938
Longitude: 
-72.614322
Description/Comments: 

Deerfield River from Mill Village Road in Deerfield Massachusetts.

Old Deerfield village and Deerfield Academy are about 1 mile downstream of this spot.

Photo taken February 26, 2016, after a day of heavy rain.

Toward Deerfield Treatment Plant

Toward Deerfield Treatment Plant
Place name or River name: 
Deerfield River, from Deerfield Academy
Watershed: 
Deerfield River
Latitude: 
42.546865
Longitude: 
-72.609352
Description/Comments: 

Looking towards Deerfield River and the Deerfield treatment plant in the distance. Water in the foreground has flooded fields below Deerfield Academy. Flows on this date (February 26, 2016) were about 20,000 CFS; less than 1/4 the flows experienced during Tropical Storm Irene.

Deerfield River from Rt 5 Bridge upstream view

Deerfield River from Rt 5 Bridge upstream view
Place name or River name: 
Greenfield MA
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.569444
Longitude: 
-72.592012
Description/Comments: 

The Deerfield River from Route 5 Bridge in Greenfield, looking upstream.
Municipal golf course is on the right, behind the thin line of riparian trees.

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