Addison County Riverwatch Collaborative

Addison County River Watch Collaborative (ACRWC) believes that synergy and cooperation between existing government and community people are necessary to improve the water quality in Vermont lakes and streams. ACRWC was formed in 1997, and has included numerous cooperators: Otter Creek Audubon, Otter Creek Natural Resources Conservation District, Middlebury River Watershed Partnership, New Haven River Anglers Association, The Watershed Center, Lewis Creek Association, LaPlatte Watershed Partnership, Town of Ferrisburgh and the Weybridge Conservation Commission.

By combining their efforts, the partner groups have strengthened the grassroots and cooperative movement of "public private" watershed  scale water quality management. ACRWC encourages a partnership between government and citizen based groups to protect the ecological integrity of these watersheds.

The Addison County Regional Planning Commission, Lewis Creek Association and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation enthusiastically support the Collaborative by providing mapping, database management, organizational capacity, technical support and lab service resources to the organization. 

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, VT Farm Service Agency and Middlebury Union High School have also been invaluable partners.  ACRWC is one of the larger citizen water monitoring groups in Vermont. 

ACRWC informs towns, counties, land managers, policy makers, residents and tourists about Vermont’s Water Quality Standards. ACRWC reports on local water quality and stream corridor conditions, and how well our land management practices are helping to achieve VT Water Quality Standards today. Their study areas include:

  • Otter Creek watershed from Salisbury to Weybridge
  • Middlebury River watershed from its source in Hancock to its confluence with Otter Creek in Middlebury
  • New Haven watershed from its source in South Lincoln to its confluence with Otter Creek
  • Little Otter Creek watershed from its source in Bristol to its mouth at Lake Champlain
  • Lewis Creek watershed from its source in Starksboro to its mouth at Lake Champlain.
  • Lemon Fair watershed from its source at Lincoln Pond to its confluence with Otter Creek.
  • LaPlatte watershed from it source in Hinesburg to its confluence with Shelburne Bay.

These Champlain Valley watersheds are predominately agricultural and forested with some suburban/residential and industrial areas that drain a large portion of the Champlain Valley into Lake Champlain.

The study area includes farms, municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plants and power generation dams.

The stream corridors are also valued and used by local residents and tourists for boating, swimming (except for Lemon Fair and Dead Creek), nature appreciation, fishing and hunting.

Throughout the spring and summer months, ACRWC volunteers collect samples to track the presence of phosphorous, sediments, E.coli and nitrogen.  ACRWC water quality results are summarized and available on line at and  With support from regional planning, ACRWC is currently developing a searchable web page to display ACWRC data.

ACRWC and ACRPC maintain a long-term baseline of reliable scientific data for all people, groups and government agencies to use for stream corridor activity working  to reduce overland and stream channel nutrient and soil movement to Lake Champlain. ACRWC promotes the use of long term water quality tracking records for unique stream systems to measure the success of conservation investments in the Lake Champlain Basin over time.

Increased levels of phosphorous negatively impact water quality and increase algal blooms, plant growth, fish kills, habitat loss and loss of native plant communities. ACRWC has identified that the streams of the middle Lake Champlain Valley have  elevated phosphorous levels that contribute to phosphorous problems, including the rapid aging of  Lake Champlain and congestion of the lake edge shallow bays.

Many of Addison County’s streams are used by local residents for recreation – swimming, boating, fishing, and enjoying the natural beauty of the watershed.   E.coli, while not harmful itself, often times indicates the presence of manure or sewage which contains organisms that can cause respiratory or digestive ailments in people.  ACRWC data also reveal that often, E.coli levels in our rivers are high and exceed State of Vermont Water Quality standards for Class B waters, especially after rain events.

ACRWC is proud of its record of community involvement.

During a sampling season, 35 volunteer river monitors can be seen contributing more than 600 hours to planning and overseeing activities, conducting water-monitoring training, collecting water samples and analyzing data.

ACRWC is funded in part by contributions from Lewis Creek Association, New Haven River Anglers Association, Otter Creek Audubon Society, The Watershed Center and from the people and towns of Bristol, Ferrisburgh, New Haven, Lincoln, Salisbury, Vergennes, Shelburne and Weybridge.  ACRWC has received grant funding from the Vermont Clean and Clear Program, Vermont Conservation License Plate program and relies upon Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Laboratory Services.

ACRWC also greatly appreciates the generous anonymous gifts it receives from private donors.

As ACRWC continues to improve and expand its water-monitoring and data collection activities, it seeks to broaden its base of financial support to ensure its long-term commitment to improve the well being of its watershed towns.   


Are you interested in the health and well-being of our communities and our rivers, streams and creeks?  ACRWC is always looking for  volunteers to help it meet its ever expanding water sampling activities.  Other opportunities for involvement might include database assistance, graphic design and desktop publishing, web design and fundraising.  ACRWC welcomes financial contributions.   Please call 802-352-4327 or 802- 425 2002  to learn more about the collaborative or to request a copy of ACRWC’s most recent water quality report.  Or look in the library section of this website for ACRWC reports.               


Ethan Swift, Board Adviser, Vt. Dept. of Environmental Conservation, 802 786 2503

Heidi Willis, Board President, Otter Creek & Middlebury River Coordinator, 802-352-4327,

Pete Diminico, Board Member, New Haven River Coordinator, 802-453-3899,

Craig Miner, Little Otter Creek & Mud Creek Coordinator, 802-877-2469,

Louis duPont, Board Member, Lewis Creek Coordinator, 802-453-5538,

Kathy Morse, Board Member, Lemon Fair River Coordinator, (802) 545-2859

Marty Illick, Board Member, 802-425-2002,

Kevin Behm, Addison County Regional Planning Commission, 802-388-3141,

Bill Hoadley, Board Adviser, LaPlatte Watershed Partnership, 802-985-5736

Roy Schiff, Board Adviser, Milone and MacBroon, Inc,, 802-864-1600

Kristen L. Underwood, Board Advisor, South Mountain Research and Consulting, 802-453-3076 ph/fax,