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.

Deerfield River near headwaters

Deerfield River near headwaters
Place name or River name: 
Green Mountain National Forest
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.984934
Longitude: 
-72.988896
Description/Comments: 

Deerfield River from a wooden bridge on a spur road off of Forest Road 71. The Deerfield has become quite small by this point. This is about 1 mile above the confluence with the Glastenbury River, which is itself a rather small stream.

Deerfield River near headwaters, Green Mountain National Forest

Deerfield River near headwaters, Green Mountain National Forest
Place name or River name: 
Green Mountain National Forest
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.992148
Longitude: 
-72.991513
Description/Comments: 

There are several primitive campsites along the Deerfield in its headwaters reaches. This view is from the back of one of the primitive campsites. The river is small enough here that in dry conditions, you can hop from rock to rock across the river without getting wet.

Headwaters of the Deerfield River

Headwaters of the Deerfield River
Place name or River name: 
Green Mountain National Forest
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.992871
Longitude: 
-72.992252
Description/Comments: 

Headwaters of the Deerfield River. This is about as far upstream as you can get with a car. The river begins another 4 or 5 miles upstream, but you'll have to bushwhack to get there, because the road ends a few hundred yards beyond this point.

Headwaters of the East Branch Deerfield River

Headwaters of the East Branch Deerfield River
Place name or River name: 
East Branch, Green Mountain National Forest
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
43.061109
Longitude: 
-72.968190
Description/Comments: 

Headwaters of the East Branch of the Deerfield River. Photo taken from Kelly Stand Road in the Green Mountain National Forest. The Appalachian Trail crosses near here.  The East Branch empties into Somerset Reservoir about a mile south of this spot.

West Branch Deerfield river

West Branch Deerfield river
Place name or River name: 
Heartwellville, Vermont
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.825946
Longitude: 
-73.002444
Description/Comments: 

The West Branch of the Deerfield starts as a steep forested brook, but dumps out into a rather flat area in Heartwellville, Vermont.  Route 8 continues south and west, crossing over into the Hoosic River Watershed just a few hundred yards from the Route 8 / Route100 junction.   The West Branch follows Route 100 down into Readsboro Vermont.

West Branch Deerfield - slow water

West Branch Deerfield - slow water
Place name or River name: 
Heartwellville, Vermont
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.821940
Longitude: 
-72.981124
Description/Comments: 

A slow stretch of the West Branch of the Deerfield River in Heartwellville Vermont. This section of the river has numerous beaver dams on it. Within a half mile, the river begins to drop more steeply as it runs towards the town of Readsboro.

Tributary, West Branch of Deerfield

Tributary, West Branch of Deerfield
Place name or River name: 
Readsboro, Vermont
Watershed: 
Deerfield
Latitude: 
42.807771
Longitude: 
-72.972365
Description/Comments: 

A small tributary of the West Branch of the Deerfield River.

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