Water Quality | A Look at the Water Quality of the Upper Missisquoi and Trout Rivers, VT

Wild and Scenic River

Reporting Cycle

Miles by Water Quality Classification

Listed Impairments

Upper Missisquoi and Trout


Good: 44.3

Impaired: 0

Unassessed: 1.8


Wild and Scenic Rivers, like all rivers, are protected under the Clean Water Act, which requires states to establish water quality standards for waters within their jurisdiction. Every two years, states are required to report whether these standards are being met. In 2018, NPS compiled information from the most recent state assessments to identify the water quality status of all designated Wild and Scenic Rivers. Based on the information available at the time, NPS determined that roughly 44% of all Wild and Scenic River miles did not meet their water quality standards, with temperature, mercury, and metals being the most common causes of impairment. Want to learn more about Wild and Scenic River water quality? Read the full report found on the website here.

Despite this year’s interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Missisquoi River Basin Association (MRBA) - the watershed organization that is UMATR’s fiscal agent and partner - volunteers have faithfully monitored the water quality of the river, sampling through a partnership with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s LaRosa Analytical Services Partnership Program for 15 years! At times these sampling efforts provide a baseline for water quality, while other samples are collected bracketing a potential problem area or known restoration activity.

This year marked a pivot to a more landowner-focused water quality monitoring model. A pilot landowner-pairing program (coming soon to the UMATR website) was made possible through a River Network grant focused on Wild and Scenic Rivers. The goal is to pair trained volunteers with landowners that wish to know more about the water quality near them. This is akin to the MRBA’s adopt-a-site program where swimming holes are adopted. This year three adopters were paired with three willing landowners for water quality sampling. They worked together to determine where to sample, and sampled through the summer season. Data were provided to the landowner in order that they may know more about how the water quality in their area of the watershed is doing. The hope is to provide resources for projects that may increase water quality if any issues are found, and to celebrate successes.

2020 River Cleanup on the Missisquoi River, VT - photo courtesy of UMATR.
2020 River Cleanup on the Missisquoi River, VT - photo courtesy of UMATR.

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Last updated: January 4, 2021