Kathy Urffer

A race against the next flood

A Senate bill, if enacted, will implement multiple changes that will help us proactively protect our communities before the next flood

Kathy Urffer is the Vermont river steward for Connecticut River Conservancy.

As River Steward for Connecticut River Conservancy, I can't stop thinking about rivers.

Since the 2011 Tropical Storm Irene, as an organization we have been racing to get projects done to protect communities before the next big flood.

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Vermonters need to plan for equitable access to clean water

The hydrology of our state’s rivers will change dramatically over the next 30 years. We should fully expect flooding and drought to increase, and we need to adapt now to avoid the worst of it.

In the face of climate change, Vermont needs a comprehensive, equitable way to ensure access to surface water users for decades to come. We at the Connecticut River Conservancy believe that a bill under consideration in the Vermont Legislature creates that pathway. If enacted, it will require data collection...

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Hydro companies must engage Native voices

The presence of dams over the past 200 years has damaged the Connecticut River, the fishery, and many of the living beings who relate to the waterway. The hydro companies applying for license renewal are failing to adequately engage the Abenaki and other Native communities in this work.

For hundreds of years, the Indigenous history of the Northeast has been systematically erased. It is time to speak up to make sure that the federal government and power companies do not continue that bitter legacy. Five hydroelectric facilities on the Connecticut River are renewing their operating licenses under...

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Hydro power affects aquatic life

The Connecticut River is home to many types of wildlife that move throughout the river and rely on parts of the river and riverbanks during their life cycles. Tiger beetles lurk on river beaches in sandy hideouts to hunt for prey. Ancient shortnose sturgeon migrate from the estuary to areas upstream and congregate on the river bottom in the winter. Dragonflies live as larvae in the water and emerge to transform into adults on the banks of the river each...

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For the Connecticut, a rare chance to nurture its fish

Since late 2012, five hydroelectric facilities in the heart of the Connecticut River have been in the process of renewing their operating licenses, which are issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The Wilder, Bellows Falls, and Vernon dams in Vermont and New Hampshire, and the Northfield Mountain Pump Station and Turners Falls Dam in Massachusetts, impact more than 175 miles of the Connecticut River. Later this summer, members of the public will have what may be their last...

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