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.

King Brook, from Hallockville Pond outlet

King Brook, from Hallockville Pond outlet
Place name or River name: 
King Brook, Hawley
Watershed: 
Chickley River into Deerfield watershed
Description/Comments: 

King Brook, looking downstream from the outlet of Hallockville Pond. Notice the breached stone dam in the mid distance.  The size of the trees behind the dam give an idea of how long its been since the dam was last in use.

King Brook step pools

King Brook step pools
Place name or River name: 
Dubuque State Forest, Hawley
Watershed: 
Chickley River, into Deerfield Watershed
Latitude: 
42.559600
Longitude: 
-72.946800
Description/Comments: 

This reach is typical of high gradient, forested headwater streams that have a step-pool shape. Boulders or fallen tree limbs span much or all of  the channel. Water flows over these obstructions,  in a series of small stepped waterfalls into the next dowstream pools.  They are commeon in gradients ranging from 5 to 20%.

King Brook headwaters

King Brook headwaters
Place name or River name: 
King Brook, Hawley
Watershed: 
Chickley River, into Deerfield River
Latitude: 
42.502443
Longitude: 
-72.699079
Description/Comments: 

Small waterfall and step pools, King Brook.

Small waterfall

Small waterfall
Place name or River name: 
King Brook, Hawley
Watershed: 
Chickley River into Deerfield River
Latitude: 
42.502443
Longitude: 
-72.699079

Route 2 upper watershed repaired

Route 2 upper watershed repaired
Place name or River name: 
Mohawk Trail, Florida MA
Watershed: 
Cold River
Latitude: 
42.638058
Longitude: 
-72.981608
Description/Comments: 

Aerial view of Mohawk Trail in upper reaches of Cold River, showing areas damaged by Irene, now restored.

Chickley River downstream view August 30 2013

Chickley River downstream view August 30 2013
Date: 
Friday, August 30, 2013
Place name or River name: 
Hawley
Watershed: 
Chickley River
Description/Comments: 

Chickley River near Scott Road, Hawley - downstream view. A family camp on this spot was washed away by Irene.

Clesson Brook in flood

Clesson Brook in flood
Date: 
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Clesson Brook flooding during Hurricane Irene, August 2011.  Photo taken near Pond Road in Hawley, in the headwaters of the brook.

Photo by Lark Thwing.

Stafford Brook

Watershed: 
Deerfield
Description/Comments: 

Stafford Brook runs into the Green River from the west. At its mouth, it runs over bedrock in a forested glen. Hemlocks and hardwoods provide plenty of shade.

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