Category Archives: Conservation

2nd Annual Onion River Race & Ramble – June 6th 2015

What a great day for a river race!

If you didn’t know… today was the 2nd annual Onion River Race & Ramble  held on the Winooski River in Vermont. The course started below the Bolton Dam and finished at the bridge in Richmond. This ten mile stretch is a gorgeous scenic cut through the green mountains.

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The morning started out a little chilly for early June but attendance wasn’t affected from the cooler temps. Close to 90 people signed up this year to show their support and have fun at the same time which was almost double the turnout from last year. Umiak Outfitters helped out again by providing the shuttle for the eager participants. Noah from the Friends of the Winooski River led the group with a safety briefing before the heats started.

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Early in the race was the biggest obstacle, a set of rapids and rock garden, that stood between the racers and the flat water below. The tricky eddy lines surprised many paddlers letting them feel the cold temperatures of the Winooski River in June. There were many safety boaters on the water to help people to shore and recover their gear.

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Below the rapids lay many many miles of reasonably flat water on a normal day but today was different. A Northerly wind of 17 mph gave the paddlers a steady head wind most of the trip. At the end of the ten mile stretch you passed under the Richmond bridge and thus the finish line.

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After the racers finished and pulled their boats to shore they celebrated with a feast provided by Richmond Grange and sat down to reflect on the past few hours and enjoy some much needed food.

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All in all the day was beautiful, the people showed up to had fun and the Winooski River was once again conquered…at least for today.

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Big thanks to all the sponsors who without them this event wouldn’t have been possible. Sponsors include Friends of the Winooski River, with support from the Vermont River Conservancy,  Umiak Outfitters , the Vermont Paddlers’ Club , and the Richmond Grange.

Click the link below to view all of the photos from the days events.
Onion River Race & Ramble – June 6th 2015

 

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What’s under YOUR board?

Since we’ve moved to Florida, we have found many new things underneath our boards. My favorite by far are the manatees. These gentle giants just love the warm water pumping out of the King’s Bay basin. Now that we’ve had our first frost of the year, they will be congregating and resting in our favorite paddling places.

BIC Wing Manatee

As a stand up paddleboarding, we have an advantage over kayakers when it comes to spotting these slow moving giants. We can see down into the water much easier and change our course accordingly.   Florida Manatees are an endangered species and are highly protected by state and federal law. Fines for harming and/or harassing these animals are hefty. Follow the guidelines below to stay out of trouble and help protect these slow moving mammals.

1. Practice Passive Observation. Do not initiate contact with manatees. They are curious animals, but the interaction must be their idea.

2. Do not disturb resting manatees. Reduce splashing and noise.

3. Keep an active watch. Wear polarized sunglasses to improve sight.  Look for snouts and footprints (swirling water).

5. If you see a manatee stop or slow down, do not chase or paddle over the manatee.

6. Paddle gently and on the surface while watching where you place your paddle.

For more information watch the US Fish & Wildlife Manatee Manners video for paddlers. Click here to watch.

Don’t be the guy below. It’s dangerous and could be considered harassing these protected animals. For more information contact us Here.

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Waterbury Reservoir at Risk?

Can flood control, renewable energy and recreation coexist at the Waterbury Reservoir?

That’s the biggest question facing state and local officials about the 850-acre reservoir, a mecca for swimmers, boaters and stand-up paddleboarders.

The question arose now because Green Mountain Power is applying to renew its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission license to operate a hydroelectric plant at the dam. The license expired nearly two decades ago.

By law, the state’s Agency of Natural Resources must ensure the hydro plant meets water-quality standards set in the federal Clean Water Act, according to Jeff Crocker, a river ecologist with the agency’s watershed division.

WBR-Sunset-May-2014

The Main Options

1. The state would like to see the water levels at the reservoir remain relatively constant, instead of high levels in the summer and low levels in the winter.

2. Permanently lowering the reservoir to its wintertime level of 562 feet above sea level. That would shrink the reservoir’s surface area by 40 percent, essentially eliminating recreation space.

3. Lowering the water level even further, to 550 feet above sea level.

-Miranda Orso Waterbury Record

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What can you do now?

  1. Join Friends of the Waterbury Reservoir at the Vt. Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s public information meeting on October 7, 2014, 6:30-8:30 at Thatcher Brook Primary School in Waterbury. Go to that meeting armed with reliable information, share your questions and comments about this very complex issue, and be prepared to listen to a variety of perspectives.
  2. Submit your comments within the public comment period which ends October 21, 2014, via email to ANR.WSMDRivers@state.vt.us or letter to Jeff Crocker, VT Dept. of Environmental Conservation, 1 National Life Dr., Main 2, Montpelier, VT 05620-3522.
  3. Continue to stay informed about next steps in this process at Friends of Waterbury Reservoir and Watershed Management.

 

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