Four Rivers Fund

The Friends have established the Four Rivers Fund to support and expand our work in the Barre Montpelier area. Urban areas, with their roads, roofs, parking lots, and lack of vegetation along streambanks, are hard on river ecosystems. They contribute many pollutants to the river and dramatically alter habitat. We need your support to address these impacts!

The Fund is so named because it is here that the Winooski River meets up with three of its major tributaries—the Stevens Branch, the North Branch and the Dog River. The Fund will allow us to expand our stewardship efforts and the services that we provide to the Barre-Montpelier communities and engage more residents as river stewards.This work has and will include river clean ups, water quality monitoring, assessment of stormwater systems that empty into local waterways, and stormwater run-off mitigation projects.

Many in the business community have stepped up already to support the Fund. We need your support as well! Visit the Four Rivers Fund Razoo page to donate!



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 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 are 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.  We 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.

The Winooski is a large watershed. We hope that other organizations—businesses, towns, civic groups—will organize cleanups in on their local stream. 

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


Featured Project: Bioretention

In the summer 2015, the Friends, in partnership with the Town of Williston and funding from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, installed a bioretention facility in the  Palmer Court neighborhood in Williston.  This neighborhood was built in the 1960s and therefore predates mandated stormwater controls.  The cul-de-sac at the end of Palmer Court receives runoff from approximately ¾ acre, over half of which is impervious surface.  The Williston Town-wide Watershed Improvement Plan identified the installation of a bioretention area in the cul-de-sac as a high priority project.  The bioretention area will capture 200 pounds of sediment and one pound of phosphorus per year. 

If you are interested in learning more about stormwater and its impacts, please visit our Stormwater page.  To learn more about this project, please contact the Friends at 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.