Clean Water & Healthy Forests

Rustic Rivers Flattened
by Alan Panebaker

It had been more than a month since Tropical Storm Irene when I returned to kayak my favorite whitewater rivers in Vermont: the Middlebury and the New Haven. The massive flows from Irene moved some small rocks around, but in most places the overall character of the these rustic rivers remained the same, even after the storm. Sadly that is not true about sections of the rivers near roads where in the name of “repair” bulldozers literally flattened the rivers, excavating giant boulders, dredging gravel, and leaving the once vibrant river an unrecognizable shell. Rapids that used to be complex, multi-tiered stretches, supporting important habitat had transformed into homogeneous flat spots.