Beginning in 2009, the Upper Missisquoi and Trout Rivers Wild and Scenic Study Committee undertook an effort to examine 70 miles of the Missisquoi and Trout Rivers. The extensive study culminated in the 2014 federal designation of 46.1 miles of these rivers under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act - the first such designation in Vermont! - and the formation of the current Upper Missisquoi and trout Rivers Wild & Scenic Committee.
Updates / Current Status
The Upper Missisquoi and Trout Rivers Wild and Scenic Management Plan is now available here on our website (and as hard copies in the Town Clerks' offices, and our East Berkshire office). This non-regulatory Plan summarizes the information collected over the more than three-year study by the locally appointed Study Committee, and illustrates examples of management success stories in our region and encourages the voluntary recommendations which the Study Committee felt will best maintain the Missisquoi and Trout Rivers in healthy condition. The designation of the rivers was based on this locally-developed Management Plan, and this is the guiding document for managing these important resources - decisions are made by the locally-appointed Committee, and do not involve federal regulations or management of lands.
The Study Report contains excellent background information about our rivers, and is available here.
The Wild and Scenic River Study
A Wild and Scenic River Study is a congressionally authorized study to determine whether a particular river is eligible and suitable for designation as aNational Wild and Scenic River. The Study is based on the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act passed by Congress in 1968 to provide a mechanism to protect the last and best rivers of the nation.
The Study provides an opportunity for towns to work together at a watershed-scale. It is a vehicle for providing communities with the incentive, structure, expertise and funding needed to collectively identify the issues and goals they have for their shared resource, and to set forth the means for achieving those goals. The process is entirely voluntary and in the hands of the local communities to determine.
River Sections Considered for
Wild and Scenic Designation
25 miles of the main stem of the Missisquoi River in Franklin County were considered: from Canada to the beginning of the project area of the Enosburg Falls hydroelectric facility, including Enosburgh, Enosburg Falls, Montgomery, Berkshire, and Richford.
25 miles of the main stem of the upper Missisquoi River in Orleans County were considered: from the confluence with Burgess Branch to Canada, including Troy, North Troy, Westfield, Jay and Lowell (excluding the project areas for the Troy and North Troy hydroelectric facilities).
20 miles of the Trout River in Franklin County were considered: from the headwaters to the confluence with the Missisquoi River, including Berkshire and Montgomery.
Click above to access stories, articles, and videos about the Wild and Scenic Study, the Congressional designation, and other things related to our Rivers and our region.
Wild and Scenic Designation
Designation can be granted if the Study demonstrates both nationally outstanding resources and a local commitment to protect them.
In addition to protection at the local and state level, designation would add critical federal protection which could ensure any federally-funded or permitted water resource project would not adversely impact the river. It could help protect water quality and prohibit new federally licensed dams and harmful diversions.
Designation qualifies the Missisquoi and Trout for federal funds on an annual basis to support projects and activities that protect and enhance the river's outstanding values.
A river management plan was developed and a locally-based coordinating council established to oversee its implementation.
Designation does not lead to establishment of a federal park nor any locally undesirable federal land ownership.