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.

Cold River Aerial photo

Cold River Aerial photo
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

This Google Maps image of the Cold River where it meets the Deerfield was taken after Tropical Storm Irene.  The gray patch in the center is a large debris field created when the Cold changed its course during Irene. The river shifted some 70 yards west. It abandoned its previous channel near the trees adjacent to Route 2 and carved a new one, taking out a portion of the island to the left. The debris field left by this realignment, with many large boulders visible, suggests the power of the flows generated by Irene. 

Debris field

Debris field
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Debris field left by the Cold River as it jumped its banks and relocated about 70 yards west, during Tropical Storm Irene. The eroded banks in the distance comprise the far shore of the Deerfield River. The Cold River is off the the left, out of the picture.

Debris field and Cold River

Debris field and Cold River
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Near the mouth of the Cold River, the river changed course during Tropical Storm Irene. The debris field in this picture covers land that once bordered the left bank of the river. It now lies to the right of the Cold River. The Deerfield can be seen flowing left to right, past eroded banks of its own, in the distance.

Meadow

Floodplain meadow along Deerfield
Place name or River name: 
Mohawk Trail State Forest
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Floodplain meadow in Mohawk Trail State Forest.  The Deerfield River is about 50 yards away, out of the image to the right.

Sediment deposits

Sediment deposits
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Fine sediments deposited by floodwaters along nature trail in Mohawk Trail State Forest. The Deerfield River is on the right.

Cold / Black Brook confluence

Cold / Black Brook confluence
Date: 
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Confluence of Black Brook and Cold River. Black Brook comes in from the left.

Intermittent Green River tributary

Intermittent Green River tributary
Place name or River name: 
Green River
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.803088
Longitude: 
-72.701738
Description/Comments: 

An intermittent stream enters the Green River in its headwaters reaches in Vermont. Green River Road is just off to the right of the photo.

Upper Green River, eroding banks

Upper Green River, eroding banks
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Downstream view of Green River in its headwater reaches, Halifax VT.  The high eroded banks and downed trees illustrate the scouring power of the river even in this upper watershed reach, about 4 miles from its origin.

Beaver Pond along Forest Road 71

Beaver Pond along Forest Road 71
Place name or River name: 
Green Mountain National Forest
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.990170
Longitude: 
-72.981969
Description/Comments: 

Beaver Pond on an unnamed tributary of the Deerfield River, off of Forest Road 71, in the Green Mountain National Forest. This pond is about 1/3 mile east of the Deerfield in its headwaters reaches.

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