Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Environmental Sciences

Thesis Type

Honors College

First Advisor

Kris Stepenuck

Second Advisor

Kristen Underwood

Third Advisor

Gretchen Alexander


Vermont, River Corridor Easement, geomorphology, monitoring, river restoration, riparian buffer


River corridor easements (RCEs) are a passive approach to river restoration in which a landowner sells their rights to manage a river channel on their property and agrees to forego new development within the easement. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) uses RCEs as a strategy to minimize conflicts between human investments and river dynamics as well as to reestablish healthy river systems. The DEC is interested in expanding the monitoring of RCEs to collect information about the ecology and geomorphology of the easement sites. This project drew from existing monitoring and stream geomorphic assessments to formalize a protocol for monitoring RCEs. This protocol collects information about the use and maintenance of the easement, the buffer vegetation, and the geomorphology of the channel, and is intended to be used repeatedly for long term monitoring. The protocol was then tested by multiple people to determine how much variability existed in data collected by different observers. There was a lot of variability between observers, much of which could be addressed with additional training and clarity in the protocol instructions. A revised protocol was developed based on these observations. It may also be more efficient in some cases to invest resources into monitoring using aerial imagery and LiDAR. Ultimately the goals of this monitoring effort should be considered to ensure that time and resources are being used in the most impactful way.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.