As well as partnering with our communities through our River Community and Town Infrastructure Grants, the UMATR Wild & Scenic Committee also takes on a variety of other projects. For 2020, one of our major focuses was stabilizing a badly eroding bank on Mill Brook in Westfield.
A traditional approach to halt bank erosion includes hard armoring the bank with stone riprap; however, this often results in the unwanted transfer of energy and scour to downstream reaches where similar erosion problems then occur. The Mill Brook project demonstrates an ecologically-sustainable bioengineered approach to bank stabilization that uses a combination of vegetated geogrids and rock and log toes that, despite their success elsewhere, are little used in the Northeast to address bank erosion.
The completed project will now reduce streambank erosion and help to minimize water quality impairments resulting from sediment and phosphorus loading. Visit our Bank Stabilization page to learn more about this project.
Before and After at the Mill Brook project
We have also been trying to increase and improve access to the river. Partnering with the Northern Forest Canoe Trail's (NFCT) Stewardship Crew has enabled us to install new access points on Lane Rd in Westfield, and off Route 100 at the Lowell/Westfield town line. These two access points now enable paddlers to easily enjoy a windy and scenic section of the river. Check out the NFCT's Trip Itinerary highlight of this section, which their GIS crew made this year.
The Lane Rd access consists of a graveled path and a set of wooden steps that are installed each spring and removed each fall. This access can be found on Lane Rd, just about a half mile off Loop Rd where it connects to Route 100 north of the Westfield Village Green.
The Raboin Farm access is a permanent stone structure located at a pull-out along Route 100, just to the south of the Lowell/Westfield town line.
Please respect the landowners who allow us to create these access points: do not leave any litter behind during your visit, and please do not block any farm access roads if you are leaving a vehicle.