Jail Branch River

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The Jail Branch River is a river in central Vermont. It is a tributary of the Stevens Branch of the Winooski River and part of the Lake Champlain watershed.

The Jail Branch is a 16-mile-long river that rises in Washington, Vermont, and flows north into Orange, where it comes under the influence of the state of Vermont's East Barre Dam.[1] Orange Brook and its tributaries Baker Brook, Nelson Brook, and Nate Smith Brook enter the Jail Branch before it flows into Barre. Turning northwest, the river passes through East Barre; Honey Brook and its tributaries enter from the north before it descends through a narrow valley to the center of Barre, where it enters the Stevens Branch just south (upstream) of the downtown. The watershed area is 31,050 acres (12,570 ha).[2] The Jail Branch River supports a healthy wild brook trout population and has had few pollution problems in recent years.[3]

On May 26, 2005, the Jail Branch was the site of the drowning of three children, whose bodies were found in Barre at 5:45 a.m. local time. The drowning was attributed to the steep riverbank, which could have caused the children to slip and fall into the river.

The East Barre Dam[edit]

The East Barre Dam was built in response to the 1927 flood. The flood set state records and hit the Winooski River Valley and tributaries the hardest. Eighty-four people died as a result of the flood statewide, and the downtown of Barre was decimated from the flooding of the Jail Branch and Stevens Branch rivers.[4] Nowadays, the dam protects the city from flooding almost yearly, as the area above the dam floods semi-yearly but the controlled flow of water into Barre cuts back considerably on the amount of flood damage.

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Coordinates: 44°07′41″N 72°26′18″W / 44.1279969°N 72.4383121°W / 44.1279969; -72.4383121