Applications for
Science and Teaching

Emriver Models for Public Outreach

We build our Emriver models to help people of all ages and backgrounds understand complex river behavior. Traditional lectures and static representations are often inadequate education methods because of oversimplifying the morphologic response of rivers to human practices such as channel straightening or bedload mining. Emriver models are powerful tools for conveying the complicated processes and responses of rivers. We often see people make great leaps in understanding by observing the models.

Emriver models can create dynamic conversations, encouraging community leaders to consider the value of rivers in the decisions they make. The models demonstrate river management practices that can be applied during construction or development projects, and during pre-disaster mitigation and post-disaster recovery.

Vermont Rivers and Roads Program

The Vermont Agencies of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Transportation, developed the Rivers and Roads Program using the Emriver Em2 geomodel to explain how rivers work and how to design, construct, and maintain roads and bridges to create greater river stability and more flood-resilient transportation infrastructure.

People often make great leaps in understanding the complicated processes and responses of rivers by observing the stream models.

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Rivers Program has had the Emriver stream table for almost 15 years, and it remains one of our top teaching tools for both professional and lay-person trainings. The Rivers Program supports 5 stream tables used around the state as part of our education and outreach work.

The Emriver stream table provides a quick and easy way to share real life examples and demonstrations of river dynamics and the interactions between the rivers and what we put in and along them. This has allowed for more awareness and in-depth discussion in our community planning efforts around such things as: floodplain protection versus development, habitat resources, water quality concerns, and long-term goals for maintaining a healthy river system. The VT Rivers Program has, and would, recommend the Emriver tables to those looking for a truly engaging teaching and learning tool.

Staci Pomeroy

River Resource Scientist, Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Public Outreach


  • Why Rivers Move and Erode
  • Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Watershed Management Division gives a demonstration to the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission
  • The Watershed Stewardship Center at West Creek Reservation, part of Cleveland Metroparks, uses an Em2 to teach the public about enhancing and protecting urban watersheds.
  • The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization uses an Em2 to demonstrate how rivers work.
  • Little River Research & Design and the Missouri Department of Conservation made a series of videos using the Emriver models to help students better understand geomorphic processes in rivers. Examples of the videos include headcuts, tributary incision, meandering, wetland draining, bank failure, mining, effects of dams and weirs. Our YouTube channel includes a playlist of all these River Geomorphology videos. Each video in the playlist includes a description, but you can also download a teaching guide.
    (Many of the videos are also available online, hosted by Carleton College. A DVD with all videos is included with a model purchase. Or you can purchase the entire series on DVD from Little River.)
  • Wild Trout Trust YouTube channel The Wild Trout Trust and the Severn Rivers Trust made a video series using the Emriver that “will look at specific scenarios and model their outcomes, which are often highly unexpected unless you have quite a lot of existing experience with geomorphology.” Each new video will be posted on the Wild Trout Trust blog. The series has covered:

– Erosion and deposition
– Unintended effects of dredging
– Rebalancing bank erosion rates
– Weirs and impacts on river life

It’s a fabulous kit and just what we needed to engage audiences in India and convince people (kids through politicians) that rivers need to be respected as life giving natural systems.

Adrian Pinder

Trustee, Director of Research, Mahseer Trust

It has been a thrill to see the reactions, both from students and teachers, as we take the model around southern India. We have met so many people who have taken time off from work to visit an educational session and request we build an even bigger conservation message through the use of the Emriver table.

Steve Lockett

Officer, Education and Outreach, Mahseer Trust