Passumpsic River Watershed
The Passumpsic River Watershed drains 507 square miles and is one of the largest tributaries of the Northern Connecticut River, reaching into thirteen of the seventeen towns in Caledonia County. The East and West Branch Passumpsic Rivers combine to make the main stem of the Passumpsic in Lyndon. The river flows for 34 miles through Lyndon, St. Johnsbury, part of Waterford and lastly, Barnet where it meanders around Nine Mile Islands and empties into the Connecticut River.
In June of 2002, the Passumpsic River and its tributaries flooded and inundated Lyndonville and parts of St. Johnsbury, becoming the second largest flood on record for the watershed. The flood caused serious scour and erosion on the East Branch Passumpsic and impacted surrounding towns. After this flood, a study was completed by Gomez and Sullivan Engineers, Inc. for the town of Lyndon in 2004 and strongly suggested more assessment on the upper tributaries. Since 2004, the Caledonia County NRCD has completed stream geomorphic assessments on the East Branch, West Branch, Miller’s Run River, Dishmill Brook, Sleepers River, Water Andric, Sheldon Brook, and South Wheelock Brook.
East Branch Passumpsic River
The East Branch Passumpsic watershed drains approximately 80 square miles, with its headwaters originating in the town of Brighton in Essex County. Northern tributaries of the East Branch drain a large portion of the town of Newark and a small portion of Westmore. The main stem runs generally along Route 114 through Newark and into the town of Burke. The East Branch then flows south to Lyndon where it combines with the West Branch at the southern end of Darling Hill to become the Passumpsic River main stem.
West Branch Passumpsic River
The West Branch Passumpsic River drains 66 square miles, beginning from its headwaters in the town of Westmore in Orleans County. The main stem flows along Route 5a and 5, flowing briefly through the town of Newark, through Sutton and Burke, and finally into Lyndon where it combines with the East Branch. Its main tributaries are Sutton River, Roundy Brook and Calendar Brook.
Miller’s Run River
The Miller’s Run River drains 48.5 miles. Its headwaters are in Sheffield, flowing southeasterly through Sheffield, Wheelock and into Lyndon where it drains into the Passumpsic River. The river was originally named for the number early sawmills and gristmills on the river. The Miller’s Run is less steep and more sinuous than the East and West Branches and features two sharp drops in elevation in the villages of Sheffield and Wheelock. The Miller’s Run River is flanked by Route 122 and is influenced by Interstate 91.
Dishmill Brook is a major tributary to the East Branch Passumpsic River, draining approximately 6.6 square miles of Burke Mountain and flowing westerly to join the East Branch Passumpsic River in East Burke Village, just upstream of the East Burke Dam.
The “Lower” Passumpsic River Watershed
When dividing up the Passumpsic Watershed, we often refer the “Upper Passumpsic Watershed” encompassing the tributaries north of Lyndonville, listed above, and the “Lower Passumpsic Watershed” as the tributaries south, including the Sleepers River, Joe’s Brook, Water Andric, Sheldon/Hawkins Brook, South Wheelock Brook and the Moose River. The Moose River is largely in Essex County, but the Caledonia County NRCD has supported additional studies in the Lower Passumpsic.
- Passumpsic River Watershed Basin Plan
- Lyndon Flood Study (pdf) Vol 1 Final Report
- Click here to link to the state’s report listings and scroll to the following reports
- East Branch Passumpsic Corridor Plan
- West Branch Passumpsic Corridor Plan
- Miller’s Run River Corridor Plan
- Dishmill Brook Corridor Plan
- Lower Passumpsic Tributaries Corridor Plan