The Batten Kill Watershed Alliance was created in 2001 to promote good stewardship of the river and its tributaries in both Vermont and New York. The Alliance is fulfilling this mission through investments in the river system and public outreach. We have built partnerships with landowners, river users, and government agencies in both New York and Vermont. The formation of the group was motivated by stakeholder concern about the erosion and channel instability, a decline in the trout population in the 1990s, and conflicts among river users and landowners.
Alliance achievements have included investments in trout habitat improvements and better river dynamics, erosion control and bank stabilization projects, sponsorship of River Stewards, and public presentations on topics concerning the river. The most significant accomplishment has been the installation of cover and shelter structures in the river based on the latest scientific conclusion that this component of habitat is deficient in the river. We now have documented evidence that this kind of habitat improvement can increase the trout population, reversing the earlier decline. This project is ongoing in the Batten Kill in both states. We also are currently involved in projects in White Creek in both NY and VT, and we will be evaluating projects in other tributaries related to damage from tropical storm Irene.
The BKWA is governed by an eleven member board of directors that includes landowners, anglers, canoeists, and community members from both states. Alliance projects are supported by our members, and BKWA has also received grants from organizations such as Trout Unlimited chapters, Green Mountain National Forest, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Trout & Salmon Foundation, the Orvis Company, the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, and the Environmental Protection Agency through the River Network.
The strength of the Alliance is that the organization brings together all who are dedicated to this watershed. We are a local group based on community members, landowners, and river users. We have worked with the state and federal scientists to identify the challenges confronting the river system and the possible solutions to problems. We have worked with landowners and municipal governments to learn of their concerns, and to bring to bear on their problems all the expertise of the agencies from both states.
BKWA is truly an alliance for this watershed. We are improving the conditions of the river and the communities through which it flows. Join us.