Who We Are

BRASS Brochure

The Boquet River Association (BRASS) is a small, membership-based, volunteer-oriented non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of water and life in the Boquet River watershed. BRASS uses a collaborative, non-regulatory approach to watershed management, and works with individuals, organizations, local governments, and state and federal agencies to solve problems affecting the river. BRASS is known for its dedication to river quality and for mitigating conflicting river interests. It also has a reputation for accomplishing projects through education and by coordinating skills and services of volunteers, businesses, county and town governments, and state agencies.

Formed in 1984, BRASS has a long standing involvement in issues related to land use, point- and non-point source pollution, in-stream and riparian species and habitats, wetlands, water quality monitoring, recreation, and the economy. In 2010, BRASS updated its strategic plan outlining its response to new and existing challenges in the watershed. Other recent projects include a culvert assessment study to identify structures prohibiting fish passage and monitoring vegetation, including invasive species, in wetlands throughout the watershed. BRASS is currently facilitating the watershed-wide process to update the 1984 Boquet River Watershed Management Plan (aka Boquet River Study). It also continues to conduct its annual events including river cleanups, planting projects, informal BRASS Rambles throughout the watershed, and several educational fundraising events.

BRASS serves the Boquet watershed populations and municipalities, including residents and visitors in Elizabethtown, Essex, Lewis, Willsboro, and Westport, N.Y. Local landowners and businesses are its members, and the Board of Directors is composed of appointees from the five watershed towns as well as Directors elected by the membership. To maintain its operation, BRASS relies on membership dues, generous donations and individual contributions of time, talents, skills, and resources. Special projects, like the culvert assessment, wetland monitoring and the watershed management plan, are funded by various state and federal agencies, regional organizations, and trusts.

The Boquet River Association has garnered various stewardship awards. In 1994, BRASS was recognized by the U.S. Department of Interior’s Rivers and Trails Program as one of the seven “success stories” in the nation, and was awarded by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation the Adirondack Stewardship Award. BRASS received the CF Industries National Watershed Award in 1996 and the Park Stewardship Award from the Adirondack Council in 1998.

Since its inception, BRASS has:

• Planted more than 270,000 tree and shrub seedlings along the river for erosion and flood control

• Pioneered the planting of large, native tree cuttings for streambank erosion control in the Lake Champlain Basin

• Worked with farmers to stem soil loss and increase buffer zones and wildlife habitat

• Built over 1,400 feet of low-cost log cribbing and log terrace structures for erosion control

• Partnered with local highway departments to develop runoff controls

• Produced a stream erosion control booklet titled How to Hold up Banks: Using All the Assets

• Implemented runoff controls with local road departments and produced a 24-minute video titled Looking for Answers: Developing Partnerships for the Control of Sediment Runoff from Rural Roads

• Implemented pilot projects for invasive plant control, and rain gardens for stormwater runoff control

• Helped re-design FEMA flood zones

• Conducted studies in water quality, sediment embeddedness, aquatic insects, native mussels, riparian buffer zones, and stream morphology (the research into sediment embeddedness, with assistance from the Fisheries Department of NYSDEC, is one of the most complete and long term studies in the Northeast)

• Helped towns in alternative sewage disposal methods

• Hosted “Rambles” to encourage people to explore the Boquet River watershed

• Conducted the annual Boquet River Clean-up and Trashy Art Day

• Conducted teacher training workshops in Vermont, New York, and Canada; produced a watershed board game; and developed curriculum and instituted the raising of trout and salmon in 7 public schools

• Designed river-side public access parks totaling over 600 acres; and cleared mountain trails for hiking and cross-country skiing

• Turned an industrial waste area into an attractive salmon fishing access; helped create a new public park on Lake Champlain; and sponsored international volunteers for public trail work

• Developed several bicycling and historical tour maps, and initiated natural and historical tours to help the area’s economy

• Provided project information to members, and to over 100 agencies, schools, libraries, museums, and local governments, through its newsletter.



Boquet River Association, Inc.

PO Box 374. Elizabethtown, NY