Formation of the Friends of the Winooski River

The Friends of the Winooski River began in 1998 when members of the Winooski Watershed Association wanted to focus their efforts on projects that would directly affect water quality issues. These members formed the Friends of the Winooski River, FWR, with the goals “to reduce pollution, improve habitat, increase river stability and encourage passive and sustainable enjoyment of the river”. FWR is a non-profit volunteer group that works out of Montpelier, Vermont.

From the beginning, FWR involved various partnerships and programs to support their main mission. When transitioning organizations, FWR continued to work with farmers and focus on stream restoration. One of the first programs FWR supported was a partnership with the Montpelier High School on their annual river clean-up and festival. These volunteer run programs became the basis of this 17 year old non-profit organization.

Today, FWR has completed 90 miles of stream geomorphic assessments, tested 220 stormwater outfalls for contamination, initiated several fish passage improvement projects, and many more. These projects have helped achieved the mission of restoring and protecting the Winooski River watershed.

Project Contact: 
Michele Braun
Project Contact Email: 
Town: 
Barre City
Berlin
Cabot
Calais
Duxbury
Fayston
Marshfield
Middlesex
Moretown
Northfield
Plainfield
Roxbury
Waitsfield
Warren
Waterbury
Woodbury
Worcester
Year Project Started: 
1998
Year Completed: 
2000
Project Lifespan: 
1998- Present
Keywords: 
Outreach
Water
Project Accomplishments: 

The Friends of the Winooski River’s primary accomplishments were to soundly construct and organize the legal and financial operation for the organization. The transition to the Friends of the Winooski River group accomplished a new and clear focus to their mission. The organization developed a new mission statement that was focused around projects that directly affect water quality.

Project Partners: 

Ben & Jerry’s Foundation
WaterWheel Foundation
Montpelier High School
Montpelier Parks
Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District
Vermont Department of Conservation
US Fish and Wildlife Service
Montpelier Conservation Commission
Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District
Lake Champlain Basin Program

Critical to Success: 
The FWR contributes their success to the young people with lots of energy that joined the organization. Additionally, the group contributes their success to the many partners that helped them get projects off the ground. The different organizations around the area that were doing similar work were influential to the FWR.
Challenges: 
The biggest challenge the Friends of the Winooski River faced during their formation was the transition from one organization to a new organization. These challenges included organizing the fiscal responsibilities and understanding the organization’s new responsibilities.