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.

Dredging on the Chickley River

Dredging on the Chickley River
Place name or River name: 
Hawley MA
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Dredging work completed shortly after Tropical Storm Irene.

This work was subsequently amended to provide a more natural looking and functioning river channel.

Logjam on Chickley River

Logjam on Chickley River
Place name or River name: 
Hawley, MA
Watershed: 
Chickley River
Description/Comments: 

Logjams forming on Chickley River, courtesy of Hurricane Irene.

Stetson photo.

Logjam on Cold River

logjam on Cold River
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

This log jam on the far shore and large boulders resting on what is now dry bedrock are evidence of high and erosive flows that occurred during tropical storm Irene. The Cold River is just out of view, below the image.

Sediment deposits at Cold River / Deerfield confluence

Sediment deposits at Cold River / Deerfield confluence
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Sediments deposited at the junction of the Cold and Deerfield rivers. Some of the sediments come from the Cold River, a high-gradient stream. When flows reach the Deerfield, they are apt to slow dow, dropping out materials and forming a delta.  

Fine soils

Fine soils
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Fine sediment deposits at the junction of the Cold and Deerfield rivers.

Japanese Knotweed

Japanese Knotweed
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Sediment deposits and Japanese Knotweed at junction of Deerfield and Cold rivers.

Banks of the Cold River

Banks of the Cold River
Date: 
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

A view of the materials deposited at the Cold River / Deerfield confluence, seen from across the Cold River. This side has been more heavily eroded, by action of the Cold River during high flows. The Deerfield flows just on the other side of this formation. It bends around to the right, towards the confluence about 100 feet downstream. 

Pages