454,000 acres (710 sq. miles) 56 mile main stem Over 100 miles with tributaries 21 towns 40,000 residents The Watershed
Why the White River? Largest un-dammed tributary to the Connecticut River; Longest free flowing river in Vermont; Atlantic salmon restoration river; Significant recreational resource for residents and tourists -- one of the longest uninterrupted boating runs in New England.
1996 Public Forums 11,000 mailings Six listening forums Over 150 participants Resulted in seven priority areas
Seven Priority Areas 1.Water quality 2.Riparian habitat 3.Streambank erosion 4.Public awareness of problems 5.Public access to the river 6.Point source and non-point source pollution 7.Maintaining a working landscape (agricultural and forest)
Our Mission Our mission is to help local communities balance the long-term cultural, economic and environmental health of the White River Watershed through active citizen participation.
Our Work Program 1.Watershed wide assessment; 2.River restoration; 3.Economic sustainability; 4.Outreach and Education; 5.Stewardship.
State of the Partnership Six functioning stream teams; Active 11 member board; 300 volunteers planting trees in the spring; 30 volunteers collecting weekly water quality samples; Two full time staff, 1 Summer water quality intern, 2 Assessment Consultants (summer & computer);
State of the Partnership Two partner staff dedicated to restoration projects in the watershed; Six partner staff assisting with restoration projects in the watershed; Riparian tree planting program with the conservation district; Upper River Pilot Project; Forestry Work Group.
Accomplishments Assessment Phase I completed on over 700 reaches – currently being updated to final version; Phase II field assessment done for 240 reaches.
Accomplishments Restoration Continue to take on new restoration challenges that engage our partners AND benefit the watershed; 3.5 miles of streambank stabilized and in-stream habitat restored; 800 volunteers have planted 7,000 trees in 4 miles of riparian area.
Accomplishments Economic development UVM Forestry research; AMP research with County Forester; Increased local capacity among contractors; Created promotional watershed map.
Accomplishments Outreach & Education Topnotch newsletter that people read! User friendly, inexpensive web page that we maintain and update regularly; Developing six sub- watershed signs; Development of six watershed “quests.”
Accomplishments Stewardship 240 contributing members; Attracting outside funding; Continue to engage new partners; Volunteer commitment remains high.
Frustrations & Barriers Achieving balance between community involvement/process & getting things done (restoration projects, riparian planting programs etc.); Increasing project capacity when outside partners have statewide commitments; Consistently working on the edge of local and perhaps national experience (first to use the State’s assessment protocol, first to complete different types of geomorphic based restoration projects);
Frustrations & Barriers Disconnect between how we do restoration projects (natural channel design) and “conventional wisdom” of gravel extraction and hard armoring; Volunteer leadership skills; Volunteer time – re: community collaborative challenge – getting small business owners to make time for a shared vision when they are working hard on their own businesses.
For more information: www.whiteriverpartnership.org