Stevens and Wells River Watersheds
The Stevens and Wells Rivers Watershed are part of “Basin 14” in Vermont, which includes the Stevens, Wells, Waits, and Ompompanoosuc watersheds. The Wells River watershed drains approximately 100 square miles in the towns of Peacham, Groton and Ryegate in Caledonia County, as well as Newbury and Topsham in Orange County. The headwaters are located in Peacham near Osmore Lake the rivers drains into the Connecticut River in the village of Wells River.
The Stevens River watershed encompasses 49 square miles and 31,360 acres in the towns of Peacham, Barnet, Danville and Ryegate. The watershed includes the Stevens River main stem, South Peacham Brook, Jewett Brook, Peacham Hollow Brook and Willow Brook.
What’s happening in the Watersheds?
Ticklenaked Pond and Scotch Burn
Ticklenaked Pond and its primary tribuatary Scotch Burn have been the subject of water quality efforts for a number of years within the Wells River watershed. Ticklenaked Pond, located in the town of Ryegate, was previously considered impaired according to State regulations due to excessive phosphorus levels in the lake that were causing algae blooms. After many years of efforts the pond was removed from the State’s impaired waters list in 2020 but is still considered a stressed watershed. The Caledonia County NRCD and VT Department of Environmental Conservation are continuing water sampling (shown above) on Scotch Burn to monitor any current nutrient inputs to the pond.
Peacham Bog in the Stevens Watershed is the only documented “raised bog” or “dome bog” in Vermont. A raised bog rises in elevation over time due to peat formation and sits slightly higher than its surrounding topography. Located within the Groton State Forest, this unique area is home to many diverse species and natural communities. This wetland also provides critical floodwater storage during rain events. A true gem! Photo by Tara Schatz
Basin 14 Tactical Basin Plan
The Stevens and Wells River Watersheds are included in the Vermont Department of Conservation’s Basin 14 Tactical Basin Plan. The plan provides an assessment of health of the basin and includes 56 strategies related to agriculture, developed lands, wastewater, and natural resources. The Tactical Basin Plan is the guidance document for water quality efforts in the watersheds and helps identify and prioritize projects and program and track progress.