Winooski Watershed

The Winooski Conservation District encompasses more than five different drainage basins including: the Winooski River Watershed, the LaPlatte River Watershed, and parts of the Lake Champlain, Lamoille and White River Watersheds.  As the name of the District suggests, the Winooski River Watershed represents a great deal of the District and spans the three Counties in Vermont that we serve: Chittenden, Washington and the three towns in Orange County (Washington, Orange and Williamstown).  

For a detailed account of the Natural Resources and priority concerns of the District, please view the WNRCD Natural Resource Assessment at the link below:

WNRCD 2015 Resource Assessment


The Winooski River begins in the town of Cabot and flows 90 miles to Lake Champlain in Colchester. The watershed drains approximately 1,080 square miles.  The Winooski River is the largest tributary to Lake Champlain and includes almost 10% of the land area of Vermont.

The Winooski River begins in the town of Cabot and flows through Marshfield, Plainfield, East Montpelier, Montpelier, Middlesex, Moretown, Waterbury, Duxbury, Bolton, Richmond, Jericho, Williston, Essex, Winooski, Burlington, and Colchester before entering Lake Champlain.

From its beginning in Cabot to the outlet in Colchester, the Winooski River drops 1700 feet in elevation. The total length of the Winooski River system (including its tributaries) is around 198 miles. The entire Winooski River Watershed is approximately 690,000 acres or close to 10% of the State’s total land area.

Land Use

Within the 690,000 acre Winooski watershed, approximately 71% is forested, 11% is agriculture and 8% is considered urban.  Water accounts for 7% with the rest in miscellaneous land uses, such as gravel pits.  Approximately 75,600 acres of the watershed are owned by the State of Vermont and managed by the Agency of Natural Resources.  The Federal government owns 12.900 acres within the watershed.

Tributaries of the Winooski River 

Alder Brook:  Length: 10 miles, Watershed area:  6,762 acres

Allen Brook:  Length:  10 miles, Watershed area:  6,900 acres

Dog River:  Length:  18 miles, Watershed area:  60,030 acres

Huntington River:  Length:  20 miles, Watershed area:  43, 470 acres

Jail Branch:  Length:  16 miles, Watershed area:  31,050 acres

Kingsbury Branch:  Length:  12 miles, Watershed area:  34,500 acres

Little River:  Length:  15 miles, Watershed area:  71,070 acres

Mad River:  Length:  26 miles , Watershed area:  91,080 acres

Mill Brook:  Length:  9.5 miles, Watershed area:  10,350 acres

Muddy Brook:  Length:  5.5 miles, Watershed area:  16, 560 acres

North Branch:  Length:  18 miles, Watershed area:  48,300 acres

Stevens Branch:  Length:  13 miles, Watershed area:  82,800 acres