Onion River Race and Ramble!!

On June 6, nearly 100 racers and ramblers joined us for the 2nd Annual Onion River Race and Ramble from Bolton Dam to Richmond.   We had entries in ten categories including two new categories for this year.  Ramblers was an untimed category for non-competitive folks who just wanted to join in the fun and get out on the water.  Community Teams were groups of four representing a business, organization or school.  Find out results and more details at the race website

A big thank you to all of our volunteers and to our sponsors: Umiak Outfitters, the Richmond Grange, who provided a great lunch and the Vermont River Conservancy. 

Top photo courtesy of Jeremiah Johnson (www.vermontsup.com). Bottom phot courtesy of the Waterbury Record

Spring Accomplishments

Riparian Restoration: The Friends, our partners and volunteers planted 2400 trees and shrubs at four sites: Crossett Brook in Duxbury; the North Branch in Montpelier and the Winooski mainstem in Marshfield and Cabot.   

Stormwater Mitigation Workshops and Projects:Stormwater runoff is rain or snow melt that does not soak into the ground.  It carries pollutants to the streams, contributes to flooding and destabilizes stream channels. It is generated from buildings, parking lots, lawns, farm fields and roads and driveways. 

  • In Worcester, we hosted a workshop for landowners to learn about what they could to protect  water resources and save money by reducing runoff and erosion from their driveway or private road.
  • We hosted a workshop at the Smilie School along the Joiner Brook in Bolton for landowners to learn about what they can do to reduce runoff.  We conducted a tour of potential mitigation practices we had identified for the school.
  • In Richmond, the Friends held a 'build your own barrel' demonstration along with discussion about other ways to control stormwater on residential properties.
  • In Williston, we installed a bioretention practice that will treat runoff from surrounding properties and street. 

River Clean Up

Rivers are a magnet for trash and debris that is not only unsightly and dangerous for recreation but can impact water quality and habitat. The unfortunate reality is that we can clean up the same sections of river year after year and still find incredible amounts of debris.  The Friends have organized clean ups that involve dozens of volunteers for nearly 20 years.   Each year, these cleanups remove scores of tires and tons of other trash and metal from the river and its tributaries.

This year, the Friends will be organizing cleanups along several sections of the river and tributaries in the Barre-Montpelier area on September 12th.  We hope to get repeat volunteers and new folks out in the river.  I don’t know what it is about getting wet and muddy but river cleanup volunteers always have a good time!  That time of year, the water is usually low and warm so it can be a great family volunteer day.

We are also planning a river junk art project.  We hope to engage local artists and students to craft a sculpture from the junk removed from the river.     

The Winooski is a large watershed so we can’t cover it all.  We hope that other organizations—businesses, towns, civic groups—will organize cleanups in on their local stream.  Thanks to Watersheds United of Vermont and its sponsors of River Cleanup Month, there will be assistance to support more efforts. 

If you are interested in learning more about the river clean up in the Winooski watershed , please contact the Friends at info@winooskiriver.org or 882-8276.

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 theVermont 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.