Pittsfield, VT after hurricane Irene, Photo by Marc Leibowitz
For several decades, volunteers throughout Vermont have stepped forward to protect and enhance water quality and river health in their home watersheds. Many have formed formal watershed organizations that monitor water quality, educate the public about the importance of clean water and healthy waterways, work with landowners and municipalities to solve problems, and sponsor volunteer restoration projects and river cleanup events.

In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, these groups often served as information hubs about appropriate flood response to preserve water quality and river channel integrity.

In the past, dialogue between existing groups has been limited, some areas in the state lack an organized watershed organization, and many groups struggle with limited capacity to identify and implement projects, let alone deal with large-scale flood emergencies. It became apparent to many that information sharing and collaboration among watershed groups can strengthen the capacity of individual groups. A statewide network also provides a platform for raising the visibility of watershed and water quality issues on a state level.

    Measuring current velocity in the Dog River, Norwich University photo

Based on input from several statewide meetings, a survey of watershed groups, and the collective energy of many individuals, Watersheds United was created in 2013. By February, 2014 funding from the Ben & Jerry's Foundation, the Lintilhac Foundation, and Vermont Community Foundation allowed WUV to bring a part-time coordinator on board. The Program Coordinator works with the Steering Committee to help make the ideas discussed over the past few years a reality.

If you are interested in volunteering with a watershed group, partnering with a group on a water restoration project, or you know of a local group not yet listed on our WUV members page, please get in touch with our Program Coordinator.