Bringing people and communities together to improve the long-term health of the White River and its watershed

October 2015 CURRENTS

October 17: West Branch project tour and willow planting event

You are invited to attend a West Branch project tour and willow planting event on Saturday, October 17 at 1pm. The project tour will be 1 hour, followed by a 2-hour willow planting; attendees are welcome to attend either or both event components, which will start at the Forest Service CCC Camp property parking area located at 2924 Brandon Mountain Road in Rochester.

The tour will highlight a recently-completed, 1-mile-long, in-stream restoration project on the West Branch of the White River in Rochester. This innovative project used large wood - 60-foot trees with roots attached - to restore streambeds and streambanks along a stretch of the West Branch where large amounts of gravel were removed following Tropical Storm Irene flooding. The restoration project goals were to restore in-stream and riparian habitat, improve river stability, and reduce the vulnerability of the surrounding properties to future flood damages. The WRP partnered with the US Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Trout Unlimited, Vermont Agency of Transportation, US Army Corps of Engineers, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Town of Rochester, private foundations, and Harvey's Excavating to design, permit, implement, and fund this phase of the project.

The next steps of the project include planting willow stakes and fascines this fall along the new streambanks, and planting a 50- to 100-foot-wide buffer along the length of the project next spring. The Forest Service is working with a Vermont Youth Conservation Corps crew this fall to implement the willow planting project component, but more help is needed!

Folks who are interested in helping plant willow stakes and fascines on October 17 from 2-4pm should dress to get dirty - we recommended long pants, long sleeves, and close-toed shoes. We will provide gloves, shovels, and mallets, but feel free to bring your own. Light refreshments will be provided.

To RSVP or for more information, contact WRP Project Manager Greg Russ at 802-763-7733 or

October 24: WRP Annual Meeting celebrates 2015!

You are invited to attend the WRP's Annual Meeting on Saturday, October 24 from 5:00 - 7:30pm at the Chandler Center for the Arts in Randolph to celebrate our collective work to improve the long-term health of the White River and its watershed in 2015! This event is free and open to the public.

The WRP Annual Meeting is a great opportunity to catch-up with your watershed neighbors, enjoy yummy local food and drinks, and learn more about and celebrate the WRP's work in 2015.

At the October 24 meeting Black Krim Tavern is providing light appetizers and a cash bar; the WRP Board will run a short business meeting; WRP staff and partners will give PowerPoint presentations about on-the-ground projects; and we'll wrap things up with a trivia game based on the presentation information, complete with prizes for the winning team!

To RSVP or for more information, contact WRP Executive Director Mary Russ at 802-763-7733 or

Project highlight: Vermont River Cleanup Month

September was Vermont's first annual River Cleanup Month and the WRP organized 2 cleanup events along the White River with 56 volunteers, who removed 650 pounds of trash from the White River in Royalton and Sharon and the Third Branch in Randolph.

Vermont Law School co-hosted a river cleanup on Sunday, September 13 to help clean-up the public access sites upstream and downstream of South Royalton. 50 volunteers, including coaches, players, and parents from the South Royalton High School girls' and Middle School co-ed soccer teams, staff members from local consulting firm Redstart Forestry, and students from Vermont Law School spent 2 hours walking and driving to sites along the river, removing man-made trash from the banks and bed of the river. At the end of the event, volunteers returned trash to the Vermont Law School parking lot, and sorted it into waste streams. The 450 pounds of trash included tires, clothing, food and drink containers, scrap metal, plywood, a caution sign, and more!

On Tuesday, September 15, 6 students and teachers from the East Valley Academy helped cleanup the Third Branch of the White River
from the Randolph Rec Park downstream to the Randolph Floodplain Forest. The small, but enthusiastic, group pulled 200 pounds of trash from the river, including a play structure, plywood, scrap metal, food and drink containers, and more!

THANK YOU to the 56 volunteers who helped improve public safety and recreational use along the White River; to Vermont Law School and the Vermont Watershed Grant for funding trash disposal; and to the Connecticut River Watershed Council Source to Sea Event for providing trash bags.

Project highlight: Students monitor crayfish with the WRP

Crayfish capture people’s attention - they are abundant, secretive, somewhat elusive, and just the right amount of scary to pick up. For all of these reasons, they have been a staple of the WRP’s watershed education program since its inception in 2010.

Through the WRP crayfish unit, students and teachers learn about the important role crayfish play in the river’s food web and how the food web might be impacted by the proliferation of non-native crayfish species found in many parts of the watershed. Students also learn how to identify White River crayfish species, then put those skills to use out at the river. It’s pretty clear that students love looking for crayfish in the name of science!

This fall WRP Monitoring Coordinator Emily Miller worked with 75 teachers and students from 3 schools to monitor crayfish at 3 White River sites. Students caught over 200 crayfish representing 3 species - the invasive rusty crayfish, the introduced big water crayfish, and the naturalized virile crayfish.

Another exciting aspect of the WRP program is that the field data collected by students doesn’t just end up on a shelf somewhere. Instead it is shared with state of Vermont scientists who use the data to enhance their understanding of crayfish distribution throughout the state. The WRP program also serves as an early-detection system since the state is constantly on the lookout for the arrival of new crayfish species.

Learn more about crayfish and other WRP watershed education units on our website.

News: WRP welcomes ECO AmeriCorps member Jim Armbruster

The WRP welcomes ECO AmeriCorps member Jim Armbruster, who will be working part-time at the WRP and part-time at the Vermont Biomonitoring and Aquatic Studies Section lab in Montpelier through August 2016.  Jim is one of twenty ECO AmeriCorps members hired by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation to improve water quality by working directly with conservation groups across the state.


Originally from Massachusetts, Jim graduated in 2014 from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology.  Jim brings a wealth of field work and place-based ecology education experience to the WRP as a result of his work with Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, Massachusetts Audubon, Vermont Fish & Wildlife, Vermont Institute of Natural Science, and the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District.  Jim is also active in the local community – he is an AEMT at Woodstock Ambulance and a volunteer with the Upper Valley Medical Reserve Corps.


During the next 11 months Jim will help WRP staff implement a range of watershed assessment, education, and restoration projects with a special focus on developing a new White River Water Trail system and stewardship network. Contact Jim at 802-763-7733 or

Become a supporting member

As a nonprofit membership organization, the WRP depends on contributions of time and money to support our on-the-ground work in the watershed. We invite you to become a supporting member by making a tax-deductible donation in 2015:

  • $20 = student membership
  • $35 = individual membership
  • $50 = family membership
  • $75 = business membership
  • 4 hours of labor = sweat equity membership

Individual, student, and sweat-equity members receive the following benefits:

  • The right to one vote at general membership meetings;
  • The opportunity to serve on the Board of Directors;
  • Our bimonthly Currents electronic newsletter;
  • Invitations to volunteer opportunities and special events; and
  • The knowledge that you are helping improve the long-term health of the White River and its watershed!

In addition to the benefits above,

  • Family members receive two votes at membership meetings; and
  • Business members receive a link on the WRP Members web page.

Donate online or follow this link for a printable membership form.

Get Involved

The WRP is a nationally-recognized and award-winning watershed organization because of the involvement of hundreds of individuals, businesses, schools, local and regional organizations, and local, state, and federal government agencies. We invite YOU to join us - here are a few ways to get involved and support our work:

  • Learn more about our work: visit the WRP website or follow us on Facebook
  • Volunteer: we engage over 500 volunteers each year through tree planting, water quality monitoring, river cleanup, and other hands-on watershed stewardship events
  • Make a donation: we depend on individual and business donations to implement our award-winning approach
Please contact us for more information!
Like the WRP on Facebook
Volunteer with the WRP
Donate to the WRP
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