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The Friends of the Winooski River's mission is to safeguard and enhance the natural resources of the Winooski River watershed in order to create a healthy balance with its human communities. We pursue this mission through restoration projects, monitoring, partnerships, education and outreach.

Membership support is critical to our mission. We ask you to support our mission and programs through membership. Click the orange button at the top right corner of this page or the link below to join the Friends in restoring and protecting the Winooski River watershed!

With member support, we achieved the following and more in 2016:

  • Planted 2250 trees and shrubs on five properties throughout the watershed;
  • Constructed two stormwater runoff reduction practices at the Cabot School;
  • Completed a floodplain restoration design in Northfield on the Dog River;
  • Created stormwater master plans for the Huntington town garage; the Smilie School in Bolton and for a neighborhood in Barre;
  • Worked with volunteers to collect water quality data at 36 sites throughout the watershed.

In 2017, we look forward to working on a number of challenges such as:

  • Working with landowners on riparian protection and restoration projects;
  • Constructing stormwater management practices in several towns;
  • Restore floodplain function along the Dog River in Northfield that will protect water quality and public and private infrastructure; and
  • Conducting education and outreach programs throughout the watershed.

Dog River Floodplain Restoration

Friends of the Winooski River has been a key partner to the Town of Northfield on the Dog River Floodplain Restoration and Water Street River Park Project.

In 2011, Tropical Storm Irene devastated the Water Street neighborhood of Northfield, which is adjacent to the Dog River between Norwich University and downtown. Nine of the fourteen buyouts that resulted were concentrated in one area of Water Street (the half-moon shaped area on the map above.) This area, now owned by the Town of Northfield, is slated to become the Water Street River Park.

The Friends used a grant from the State's Ecological Restoration Program to analyze how different alternatives for the floodplain restoration site and other areas, upstream and downstream, could help mitigate flooding in the neighborhood and further downstream. The Friends and the consulting firm, Milone & MacBroom, reviewed the analyses with Town officials and the State River Management Program to select the set of options that has the greatest impact. The final engineering designs are being completed this summer. 

Led by the Northfield Conservation Commission, the Friends and partners have also been running a newspaper series related to Irene recovery, river science, climate change, and the park, this summer in the Northfield news.


2016 River Clean-up!

If you were anywhere near the Winooski River in Montpelier or Middlesex this past Saturday, you probably saw dozens of people wading through the water carrying buckets and pushing canoes full of tires. There were kids as young as six, employees from local businesses, and even an entire AmeriCorps crew from the NCCC Atlantic Region out of Baltimore.

This year, 60 hardy citizens risked soggy boots and gloves to remove over 100 tires and several truck loads of junk metal and trash (the final weight is still pending) in a three hour period and, shockingly, from mostly the same stretches of river that are cleaned up every year. These numbers are up from last year when volunteers picked up trash from four sites and pulled 52 tires out of the river.

In 1998, the Friends began coordinating annual river clean-ups focused where the four rivers of the Winooski River, the North Branch, the Stevens Branch and the Dog River converge in the Barre-Montpeiler area. This effort had been ongoing thanks to Bill Haines, now retired science teacher at Montpelier High School.

Much of the junk metal gathered by volunteers was transported to MHS where students will turn it into sculptures that show off their creativity and make a statement. Th ese works of art will be on public display in front of the high school until September 22nd. Also on the high school grounds, the Friends will hold a Volunteer Appreciation event for all of our volunteers on Monday, September 19th at 5pm.


Cabot School Stormwater Project

This summer, Cabot School and the Friends of the Winooski River completed a project to reduce stormwater runoff, improve water quality, and provide student service learning opportunities.

The Friends and Cabot School implemented two stormwater practices to reduce runoff from the school property. The two most beneficial practices identified in the stormwater master plan were 1) a swale in the center of the campus which is designed to reduce erosion along the walkway and capture and cleanse runoff from the parking lot and, 2) an improved swale to capture water that is generated on the backside of the campus as well as water that runs on to the property from Danville Hill Road.

This fall, the school will be installing plants along the swale.take up water and reduce the overall volume of stormwater. In October, students will host an open house to showcase the new stormwater management features. They will also work with the Friends and school leaders to implement other practices identified in the stormwater master plan.

In 2015, the Friends received an Ecosystem Restoration Program grant from the State to complete a detailed site evaluation, engineering survey, and soils assessment. Students participated in field work with the stormwater engineering consultant during the evaluation and assessment process. Funding for these projects came from the State’s Ecosystem Restoration Program, the Lake Champlain Basin Program and Cabot Creamery. Stone Environmental was the consulting engineer and Natural High of Hardwick constructed the swales.

What's the scoop on stormwater? Learn more here.

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