Missisquoi River Basin Association

A Vermont/Quebec Watershed Alliance
in the Lake Champlain Basin
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Spring 2013
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February 2010
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Last updated
Jan 5 2015




 MRBA is first and foremost a volunteer organization. With the participation of community members, students, retirees, and citizen groups interested in doing their part to improve water quality in the Missisquoi watershed, MRBA holds a number of workdays each year, April through October. Volunteers use low tech methods such as tree planting to create streamside buffers, line culvert outflows and ditches with rock, fence off livestock, and seed areas of bare soil.



These various techniques serve to filter field runoff and reduce soil erosion, thereby decreasing the amount of nutrients such as phosphorus from reaching the waterways.



We partner with landowners who wish to avail themselves of our volunteer assistance. The over 100 workdays MRBA has hosted, have taken place throughout the watershed:

  • 2010 - Berkshire, Enosburgh, Fairfield, Franklin, Highgate, Montgomery, Sheldon, Troy.
  • 2009 - Berkshire, Fairfield, Highgate, Montgomery, Swanton, Troy.
  • 2008 - Fairfield, Highgate, Montgomery, Sheldon, Troy.
  • 2007 - Fairfield, Highgate, Montgomery, Richford, Troy.
  • 2006 - Enosburgh, Fairfield, Highgate, Richford, Sheldon, Troy.
  • 2001-2005 - Enosburgh, Fairfield, Highgate, Montgomery, Richford, Troy.
  • 1997-2000 - Bakersfield, Berkshire, Enosburgh, Fairfield, Montgomery, Richford, Sheldon.


 As part of our effort to promote enjoyment and appreciation of the river among community members, MRBA hosts an annual river clean-up. Volunteers in canoes and kayaks pick up an incredible array of trash including tires, soda bottles, agricultural plastic, and assorted pieces of metal along the Missisquoi. Since 1997, clean-ups have taken place, in many sections more than once, in Westfield/Troy, Richford, Berkshire, Enosburgh, Sheldon, Highgate, and Swanton.


Water Sampling

 Since 2005, MRBA volunteers have been taking water samples at some 20 sites throughout the watershed during the summer months (May through October) on an every-other-Wednesday basis. Most of these sites are located on tributaries to the Missisquoi River, the remainder are located on the Missisquoi mainstem. The samples are tested at the State's LaRosa lab in Waterbury for the presence of phosphorus, nitrogen and turbidity. The resulting data will soon be available for public access via the website of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources: Water Quality


Water Quality Report

A report giving a summary of the results of the Water Quality Monitoring Program in the Missisquoi Watershed from 2005 to 2012 is here.



MRBA endeavors to educate the public on water quality issues in general and on Missisquoi watershed issues in particular. Our outreach is accomplished in several ways:

Annual Public Forum

   Every March we hold a public information session on water issues. Recent topics have included the results of our water sampling program, findings of our geomorphic assessment projects, and author Mike Winslow on his book "Lake Champlain, a Natural History". There is no fee to attend.



   Begun in 2008, Bugworks is a hands-on learning program developed by MRBA for grades 5-6 students. Bugworks teaches children about the importance of invertebrates and their effect on stream health. Jane Williams, former science and 1st grade teacher at Richford Elementary School, teaches Bugworks. Funding through grants has enabled MRBA to hire Jane to make Bugworks available free of charge to watershed schools.



Watershed Model

   A watershed model is an educational tool which illustrates how pollution from various sources (residential, forests, roads, recreation, agriculture, construction, and industry) and run-off can carry soil, chemicals and oil through a watershed to a body of water. MRBA makes its model available free of charge to watershed teachers to assist them in portraying the complexity of how water can become polluted when it travels over land, streets, yards and through storm drains.



In an effort to learn more about the condition of the waterbodies feeding the Missisquoi River, MRBA has been undertaking geormorphic assessments of the river and its tributaries. Following a protocol developed by the VT Agency of Natural Resources River Management program, MRBA has for many years secured grant funding to hire consultants to perform these assessments which include measurements of bank height, stream channel width and depth, valley width and slope, presence of vegetated buffer, floodplain, aquatic habitat, and land use practices, etc. To date, we have assessed Tyler Branch, The Branch, Trout River, Mud Creek, Jay Branch, Black Creek, and the Missisquoi River between Lowell and Berkshire (excluding Canadian portion). The findings have been used by us and State agencies to identify areas in the watershed which would benefit from restoration or stabilization practices.



MRBA holds monthly planning meetings at 7 pm on the first Thursday of the month. Meeting locations rotate throughout the watershed:

  • January (Annual Meeting) - Enosburg Falls
  • February - E. Berkshire
  • March - Montgomery Center
  • April - Sheldon
  • May - Highgate Center
  • June - N. Troy
  • July - Richford
  • August - Swanton
  • September - Montgomery Center
  • October - Sheldon
  • November - Fairfield
  • December - Richford

Our meetings are open to the public. We would welcome your attendance and input.

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Missisquoi River Basin Association  9534 Route 36 - Unit 5  East Fairfield, VT   05448
(office) 802.827.3360  (cell) 802.752.7247, or email mrba@pshift.com