Stream Wise Celebrates Pilot Year Success with Friends of the Winooski River and
Ausable River Association as Local Hosts
Stream Wise is a newly launched initiative designed to inform and engage streamside landowners in protecting and planting native vegetated buffers on their properties to increase stream health, wildlife habitats, and flood resiliency in their local communities.
This summer Friends of the Winooski River (FWR) and the Ausable River Association (AsRA) assessed 15 properties using the pilot Stream Wise Riparian Buffer Assessment Protocol and awarded 10 landowners with the Stream Wise Award!
“Friends of the Winooski River mentioned the program in one e-newsletter and received more interest in response than we had budget available for assessments. We now have interested landowners on a waiting list for 2023. The landowners we visited were proud of their land management, and hoping to learn both that they were already doing the right thing, and what more they could do. This pushed us to compile or improve resources that we can provide to these folks around native plant sourcing, live staking, stormwater management BMPs, and more. Both our staff and our landowners have benefitted from this new program”.
– Michele Braun, Executive Director of Friends of the Winooski River
“Likewise, a lot of community excitement is building in the Ausable River watershed in NY around this project. Ausable River Association had fifteen landowners signed up for 2022 assessments. A community event celebrating Stream Wise awardees and providing additional information about the program was well attended and resulted in a waiting list for 2023 assessments”.
– Carrianne Pershyn, Biodiversity Research Manager at Ausable River Association
Landowner Scottie Harrison (Great Brook, Plainfield, VT) said that even though her buffer is in good shape, she still learned a lot from the Stream Wise Report on her property.
“I’ve been concerned about the trees that fall into the river, and reading in the report that those trees actually provide good habitat made me think of them in a new way.”
“80% of Vermont land is privately owned, so private landowners are critical to conserving our streams and rivers. We’re excited about the new Stream Wise program and the early enthusiasm it has garnered. Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is happy to be a program partner”.
– Will Eldridge, Aquatic Habitat Biologist at Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
Are you a member of an organization who would like to partner with Stream Wise? We are beginning to plan for our 2023 season and would love to hear from you!
Contact us through our website
Part awareness campaign and part assistance resource, our initiative’s website streamwisechamplain.org provides tools, connections, messaging and resources for watershed organizations, conservation districts, and other water quality groups who partner with the program to work directly with their local stream communities in a new way and with a consistent message and brand.
Stream Wise was first developed by a team of regional experts, convened by the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP), who drew upon current research, riparian buffer programs around the country, and existing regulations in Vermont, New York, and Quebec. FluidState Consulting, Greenleaf Design, and The Image Farm were awarded the grant contract by the LCBP to develop Stream Wise in consultation with the project’s advisory committee and local community partners via an agreement awarded by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to NEIWPCC in partnership with the LCBP.
Advisory Committee: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Adirondack Park Agency, The Vermont Nature Conservancy
2023 Community Partners: Ausable River Association, Franklin County Natural Resource Conservation District, Franklin Watershed Committee, Friends of the Winooski River Inc., Lake Champlain Committee, Lamoille County Conservation District, Missisquoi River Basin Association, Organisme de basin versant de la baie Missiquoi, Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute
Stream Wise is a project of Lake Champlain Basin Program and NEIWPCC