Route 2 Bridge repair, October 2011. The Cold river is seen on the left. Black Brook comes in from the left, out of the picture.
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.
The Cold River caused great damage to several stretches of Route 2 during Tropical Storm Irene. In this photo, taken during the storm, extensive scouring of the upstream bridge abutment can be seen. Black Brook joins the Cold River just out of this picture, to the right. Black Brook flows pushed water and debris out into the Cold, directing flows towards this spot and exacerbating the damage.
Damage to Route 2 and Cold River Bridge. Photo take the day after Tropical Storm Irene.
Southeast corner of the Route 2 Bridge over the Cold River. This photo was taken shortly after Tropical Storm Irene. Heavy damage occurred on both sides of the bridge. The bridge itself remained intact, but extensive repairs were needed at the site before the bridge and road could be reopened to traffic.
Route 2 bridge damage caused by the Cold River during Tropical Storm Irene. View is from Black Brook.
Black Brook and Black Brook road.
Black Brook is a high gradient stream. During Irene, it was capable of moving large boulders, rocks, uprooting and transporting trees. There was sufficient force to scour several vertical feet of streambed, transport large boulders and uprooted trees, and widen the bed enough to destroy Black Brook Road, which runs along the brook. New guardrails had been installed along Black Brook road just a few weeks before Irene hit. These also were destroyed during the storm. The road was so heavily damaged that it has not been repaired as of late 2015, four years later.
Black Brook Road, damaged by high flows during Tropical Storm Irene.
Guardrails on Black Brook Road left hanging after floods of Tropical Storm Irene.
Looking downstream at Black Brook, towards Cold River and Route 2. View is from bridge over Black Brook.
Heavy stream scouring and road damage caused by the high flows of Tropical Storm Irene.
Photo taken on November 2, 2013. The road has not been repaired as of December 2015.
Readsboro was hit pretty hard during Tropical Storm Irene. Several homes formerly sat atop this bluff, along School Street. They were rendered unstable by the eroding banks that undermined the houses, and have since been removed.