Managing Stormwater on Your Property

Stormwater is rain or snow melt that does not soak into the ground. In a natural environment with trees, shrubs and tall grasses, water does soak in and is used by vegetation or slowly enters streams as groundwater. This natural process also filters the water. In our built environment with impervious surfaces such as parking lots, roads, roof tops and even lawns, water is collected rapidly by our stormwater systems and conveyed quickly to streams. Dirt and gravel roads are also a major sources of sediment and other pollutants in rural areas. Stormwater is a problem for two reasons. One is volume—rapid runoff causes localized flooding and erodes and destabilizes stream channels. The other is that is carries pollutants to the streams such as phosphorus (the major contributor to algae blooms in Lake Champlain), bacteria, hydrocarbons and more.
To learn more about what you can do, visit our Stormwater page.

Summer Projects

The Friends are busy with our summer projects.   Email or call 882-8276 if interested in learning more about any of these projects.  

Habitat Improvement: Human impacts along rivers through agriculture, commercial and industrial facilities, residential development and transportation infrastructure have destroyed or degraded habitat for both aquatic and terrestrial species. In Vermont, river valleys have been the focus of development and agriculture. This has lead to the loss of riparian buffers has negatively impacted many animals. Learn more here.

Water quality monitoring: The Friends are working with volunteers in three areas of the watershed: the Headwaters (Plainfield, Marshfield and Cabot); the Four Rivers Partnership (North & Stevens Branches; and Dog and Winooski Rivers) and in the Chittenden County Stream Team area (Lower Winooski).

We are also undertaking a study of stormwater systems in the towns in the Steven Branch. The stormwater drainage systems are designed to collect and convey only precipitation and snow melt. However, for various reasons, other water sources and associated contaminants may enter the system.

Learn more about both efforts on our water quality monitoring page. 

Rain garden maintenance: We have three rain gardens (in Essex, Montpelier and Plainfield) that are in need of annual TLC. This will involve weeding, mulching and supplemental planting.


River Clean Up

The Friends are partnering with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and American Rivers for a river cleanup on August 9th. We are soliciting input as to clean up locations. We would like to get a mix of in-water sites and streambank sites. If you have some ideas, let us know so we can check them out! Sign up info will come in June.


Living in Harmony with Streams: A Citizen's Handbook to How Streams Work

The Friends are extremely excited about our most recent publication: Living in Harmony with Streams: A Citizen's Handbook to How Streams Work.  In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, there were lots of questions about how to manage our streams.  Should we dredge?  Should we armor the banks?  How do dredging and armoring banks impact the aquatic life?  How do they impact downstream communities? This handbook describes the natural processes of streams and how human development and actions impact those processes.  It also describes the Vermont Rivers Program, stream geomorphic assessment and corridor planning.  After you have read through the handbook,  visit the Vermont River Management pageto find many more resources including a list of completed corridor plans.  

You can also view a short presentation on the guide here. This presentation was created from the guide with funding from the Lake Champlain Basin Program.