DO NOT SWIM! Vermont waters are currently unsafe. Due to significant rain and flooding in most of Vermont on July 10th, with rains continuing on July 11th, currents are very strong. Also, most rivers are filled with debris, effluent, chemicals, fertilizers, etc. and are unsafe for swimming.

Protecting Vermont Rivers Since 1995


Why Protect and Restore?

For more than 300 years, Vermont rivers have been subject to use and abuse — meandering waterways forced into straight-line channels, currents burdened with trash and effluent, and fish passage cut short by hundreds of (now aging) dams.

Today, the effects of these historic patterns linger as visible barriers to vibrant communities, whether urban or rural. Downtown rivers are lined with busy roads, parking lots, and railroad tracks instead of walking paths, outdoor cafes, and songbird-filled green spaces. Channelized rivers rush alongside highways and mega-marts. Lowlands that once served as floodplains are built up with centuries of toxic fill and no longer slow a river’s current. And in the farthest headwaters, lands stripped of trees and topsoil lack the swales and wetlands that could provide high-quality wildlife habitat and essential filtration to keep communities’ water clean.

Meanwhile, in places where generations of kids have splashed with friends, new “no trespassing” signs are cutting communities off from their local rivers.

Our Vision

We’re working towards a time when a drop of water that falls anywhere in the Green Mountains flows through mossy old forests and beaver-filled wetlands, down cool clear streams home to otter and brook trout, past communities where broad floodplains create space for rivers to meander and shift over time, and into a clean Lake Champlain, Lake Memphremagog, Connecticut River, or Hudson River. We envision a future where people from all walks of life have access to rivers for recreation and quiet enjoyment, and value rivers as a source of clean water to their family’s tap, healthy habitat for abundant wildlife, and a source of wellbeing essential to their daily lives.

How We Get There

To get there, we use the right tool for the job. Sometimes this means giving rivers space and time for nature to regain a foothold, and sometimes we kickstart recovery by using big yellow trucks to haul out industrial fill or concrete dams. No matter what, every project we tackle has the same results: thriving communities, healthy habitat, safer homes and businesses, and places where young and old will always know the joys of Vermont rivers.

Three kids at the base of a Vermont waterfall

Connect People to Rivers

Vermont is rich with swimming holes and waterfalls, places to paddle, and riffles to cast a line. We never want to see the day when “no trespassing” signs cut people off from their favorite river. That’s why we work to make sure every community in Vermont has access to its local river. Because waterways are vital to the health of our communities and the well-being of Vermonters.

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Green heron on the Poultney River

Protect floodplains, wetlands, and forests

Here in Vermont, our rivers will bear the brunt of climate change: more drought, more floods, and warmer water. When we protect forests and wetlands, we improve wildlife habitat and help provide shade to cool waters. And when we give rivers space to move and shift over time, we keep water out of downtown homes and businesses.

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Montpelier Confluence River Park concept drawing

Restore Resilient Communities

By restoring floodplains and removing old dams, we let rivers be rivers — to have space to meander, flood, and change course over time. This helps filter out pollution to keep rivers clean, and slows water on its crash course into downstream homes and businesses. Because restoring our rivers helps keep communities safe.

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Landowner Toolbox

Info for visionary landowners to set you on a path to protection.