Friday, May 4, 2018

All-volunteer ‘River Dipper’ program monitors health of local waterways

The Black River Action Team, in their 6th year of water quality monitoring in southeastern Vermont, unveils plans for 2018.

River Dipper volunteers sample 14 sites on the main stem of the Black River and select tributaries, each month from May through September. BRAT will continue weekly monitoring 6 swimming holes for bacteria, with results being posted at the "Is It Clean?" website hosted by the Connecticut River Conservancy at

For 2018, students from three Springfield schools will conduct bioassessment projects, learning about the aquatic macroinvertebrates ("river bugs") that live at some of the River Dipper sites. The biological data will support the chemical results, deepening and strengthening the overall picture of water quality in the watershed. "These young people are going to be the next generation of town managers, select board members, landowners, and voters," says BRAT Director Kelly Stettner. "I'm eager to help them make connections between land and water, humans as part of the larger ecosystem, and themselves with the river." This educational partnership is made possible by a grant from the Vermont Watershed Grant Program and support from the participating schools. Projects range from on-site "bug hunts" and exploring leaf packs, to nature journaling and designing and deploying a water sampling device. Learn about the Watershed Grant Program at

A display will be installed at the Springfield Town Library for the month of June as a tribute to National River Appreciation Month; the display of BRAT and student work can be viewed just inside the library entrance at 43 Main Street starting the first week of June.

Contact BRAT Director Kelly Stettner at or visit

(Photo: BRAT volunteer Rodger Capron collecting water sample from the Tolles Dam swimming area in Weathersfield)

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