Mohawk Trail State Forest entrance

The Cold River flowing along Route 2 near the Mohawk Trail State Forest entrance.  Notice the riprap on the far banks.This is one of many places along Route 2 that show evidence of the damage wrought by Irene and the high flows of the Deerfield River and its tributaries, especially the Cold River and Black Brook.

River flooding can cause several types of damage: erosion, inundation, and deposition (for instance, covering a farmer’s crops with sediment).  Erosion often happens in the upper, steeper reaches of a river system; deposition, in the lower reaches.  This was the case with the Deerfield and its tributaries during Irene. Fluvial erosion damage was more severe along the tributaries in part because of the many dams along the Deerfield. These held back some of the flood waters from the main stem of the river. In Massachusetts, much of the damaging erosion happened in unregulated tributaries like the Cold River, Chickley River, and Black Brook, before they reached the Deerfield.