WRP honors Outstanding Watershed Partners

The WRP honored 2 Outstanding Watershed Partners at our Annual Meeting on Saturday, October 27 at the Arnold Block in Bethel.

“This year’s Annual Meeting gave folks a chance to catch up with their watershed neighbors, enjoy appetizers provided by 5 Olde Tavern, and celebrate our collective work to improve the long-term health of the White River watershed,” says WRP Executive Director Mary Russ.

As part of the celebration, the WRP honored Rich Kirn and Madeleine Lyttle as the first co-recipients of the WRP’s Outstanding Watershed Partner award. The new award recognizes individuals who make outstanding contributions to the WRP and the White River watershed.

Award co-recipients Rich Kirn and Madeleine Lyttle are fisheries biologists, who retired in 2018 from the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and US Fish & Wildlife Service respectively. Both Rich and Madeleine worked regionally – gathering data, developing on-the-ground projects, and advocating for improved habitat and aquatic organism passage throughout Vermont.

However the award recognizes their work in the White River watershed specifically. One example of their outstanding partnership efforts relates to a WRP flood recovery project following Tropical Storm Irene.

After the flood Rich and Madeleine provided technical assistance and funding to a Rochester-based project that replaced 6 flood-damaged, stream-crossing culverts with larger, fish-friendly, flood-resilient structures between 2012 and 2015. Extending their initial investment, Rich and Madeleine’s support enabled the project team to replace an additional 4 under-sized, stream-crossing culverts between 2016 and 2018. In sum the project has opened 20 miles of trout stream to fish passage and reduced the likelihood of significant flood damage along 10 miles of town-maintained roads in Rochester and Hancock.

“Both Rich and Madeleine personify our concept of an outstanding partner,” says Russ. “Their commitment to and investment in our mission have improved the long-term health of the White River watershed while increasing our effectiveness as an organization.”

The WRP presented Rich and Madeleine with a framed water color by Randolph resident and artist Paul Calter. The water color featured Stony Brook, an important cold-water, trout-spawning tributary to the White River in Stockbridge.