Warning: Vermont continues to experience significant rainfall, and water levels can rise unexpectedly at any moment. Many rivers are still unsafe for swimming due to sewage runoff and other pollutants. Please continue to use caution when recreating in and around rivers.
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Rainbow Rock Swimming Hole_Hayley Kolding

Face the River: Southeast Vermont

What would local communities look like if we turned to Face the River?

For more than 250 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. Lowland forests and wetlands that once served as floodplains have been cleared or developed and no longer slow a rivers’ current, setting fast-moving water on a crash-course into homes and businesses. In town and village centers, channelized rivers rush alongside roads, hemmed in by rip-rap with no room to meander. Downtown rivers are lined with busy roads, parking lots, and railroad tracks instead of walking paths, outdoor cafes, and songbird-filled green spaces. And in the farthest headwaters, lands stripped of trees and topsoil a century ago still lack the swales and wetlands that could provide high quality wildlife habitat and essential filtration to keep communities’ water clean.

In the midst of a changing climate, Vermont is already experiencing increased drought and increased flooding. Every model predicts that these trends will continue – making rivers essential to mitigating the impacts of climate change.

We’re connecting with people across southeast Vermont, leading volunteer activities, field walks, art workshops, and community conversations to ask: How could our communities turn to Face the River?

Southeast Vermont Workshops, Events, and Volunteer Days

Make it Happen!

Give today to make sure every Vermont town can access its local river.

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