CRC’s Statement on Floodwaters Around the Connecticut River

The Connecticut River is currently experiencing massive amounts of flooding throughout the watershed, with many tributaries at an all-time high for this day-of-year and the 4-state region of NH/VT/MA/CT under flood watch. Our hearts go out to the communities who have been hit hard by this flooding. The Connecticut River was recently at 114.7 feet above sea level according to the National Weather Service, and more rain is on the way.

Safety on the Connecticut River

Our primary concern at this time is safety. We do not recommend any recreation activity on the river until the rain has subsided and the risk of flood has passed.

Conditions like this are unsafe for recreating in the river as the currents are swift and there is a large amount of debris floating down. The heavy rain events and floods have also caused combined sewer overflows to discharge in some communities and storm water often carries pollutants off the land. So, if you do end up in contact with flood waters – make sure to wash your hands and don’t touch your face. As flood levels recede, be cautious of destabilized banks, undercut roads, and be wary of any debris that may have washed up on shore. Absolutely do not attempt to drive through or over flooded roads! The Centers for Disease Control report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. Furthermore, please follow evacuation orders.

We are seeing farmers lose acres of their crops throughout the watershed, people losing their boats and docks to the current, emergency evacuations, and severe damage to homes and businesses. The entire river community is in need of support, and we are in touch with our network of partners to offer assistance and expertise in any way possible. After the emergency period has passed, there will still be need for recovery and cleanup efforts after the floods. See below for recommended ways that you can help.

River Conservation Projects

At Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC), our community science and recreational events are on pause as we wait for the rivers to return to safe flows. We are assessing any potential damage to our active restoration projects such as reforestation and dam removals in order to develop plans for safely moving forward after the floodwaters subside.

An important part of CRC’s mission is to develop river resilience to protect local communities at risk of increased flooding – or drought – as we continue to experience the unpredictable impacts of climate change. This includes immediate work needed to repair flood damage, and long-term projects to prevent future impacts. Ensuring that communities are flood-ready is vital. Natural resource projects such as dam removals, riparian buffers, and floodplain restoration projects help us adapt to our changing climate and what will likely be more events like what we have seen over the course of this week. This work matters now more than ever, and addressing immediate community needs takes priority.

Resources for Information and Support

In addition to following your local news and weather stations, below are relevant recommendations compiled by CRC staff to help you stay informed:

  1. The USGS National Water Dashboard offers real-time information on water levels.
  2. NewEngland511 offers traffic information throughout the region.
  3. Northeast River Forecast Center includes flooding and weather conditions.
  4. In Vermont, you can sign up to volunteer, see the Vermont crowd-sourced Resource list, or support the Vermont Flood Resource Recover Fund. This map also shows flooding areas with photos.
  5. Red Cross Flood information and help in New England.