MONTPELIER — A survey and assessment of 107 streambank parcels owned by the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department were recently completed along approximately 60 miles of river in the Lake Memphremagog and Upper Lamoille River watersheds of northeastern Vermont.
A private contractor was hired to assess and prioritize the sites for the department’s strategic streambank and floodplain protection and restoration program. The project was funded by a grant awarded to Fish and Wildlife by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation under the Clean Water Initiative Program.
The project began in April 2019 with the collection of background information and initial contact with adjacent landowners, local cooperative partners, watershed organizations, and special interest groups. Between April and May 2019, site visits were made to all 107 properties, where observations were noted on vegetative cover, presence of invasive species, bank stability and slope, encroachment, infrastructure, land use, and angler access. These observations were reviewed and analyzed for restoration feasibility and prioritized on a low-medium-high scale. Sixty parcels were identified as high priority and work is now being conducted to contact adjacent landowners to determine interest in expanding the conservation effort at these locations.
“Completing this project allows us to concentrate our efforts to protect and restore the most vulnerable streamside locations and to improve the sites of greatest restoration feasibility,” said State Fisheries Biologist Peter Emerson.
“This unique partnership between Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Environmental Conservation allows us to achieve our shared mission to provide clean water for all Vermonters by reducing runoff and erosion, mitigating floods, providing ecologically-significant streambank habitats, and promoting clean, cold water for trout and other aquatic organisms,” added Emerson.
To learn how the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department is working to protect and conserve the fish, plants and habitats of Vermont’s waterways, visit www.vtfishandwildilfe.com