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.
Two of several root wads installed along the South River in Conway Massachusetts, part of a restoration project intended to stabilize the banks adjacent to Route 116, which runs along the river here. These ones were installed near the top of the the reach that was restored.
These wads were installed at the head of a section of road and riverbank that was restored in 2015/2016, following damage to the road during Tropical Storm Irene, and a temporary fix implemented shortly after the storm.
The South River is seen behind these roots. Chapel Brooks comes in from the right, just out of the picture
Restoration project on South River, at confluence with Chapel Brook (also known as Poland Brook).
Restoration project on South River in Conway, Massachusetts. Chapel Brook (aka Poland Brook) comes in from the right, just out of the picture.
Restoration project on South River, at confluence with Chapel Brook (aka Poland Brook) in Conway Massachusetts.
Photo is taken from south bank of South River. Chapel Brook flows in from the right.
Closeup of vegetative planting along South River. This image shows that sediment recruitment has begun. Sediment may have been deposited in the two days prior to the date of this photograph (February 26, 2016); heavy rains caused many small streams in western Massachusetts to flood during this time.
This bend in the Chickley river was one of several spots along the river where Route 8 suffered extensive damage during Irene. Repair work has been done as can be seen in the photo. It appears that in addition to the riprap installed, some dredging of the stream may have taken place.