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Conservation Connections:  Volume 3, Issue 1

Announcing the 2014 Tree and Trout Sales

Tree Sale

The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District (WNRCD) is pleased to announce that the 31st annual Tree and Shrub Sale will be held on April 26th, 2014! The Tree Sale provides a great opportunity for WNRCD to support the planting of trees and shrubs throughout our District. We will be offering over 40 varieties of plants at our sale, including black walnut, sugar maple, strawberries and apple tree varieties. In addition to the traditional items we have offered in the past, WNRCD is excited to offer locally-sourced native trees and shrubs and native organic perennials. Thanks to a Vermont Community Foundation’s (VCF) Small and Inspiring grant, District staff was able to dedicate time to researching options for expanding our tree sale to include locally-sourced plants.

Each year we strive to offer several native trees and shrubs. Many people are informed of the benefits of planting native plants, but there is less information and emphasis on the benefits of using locally- sourced stock. Locally-sourced native plants are grown directly from the seeds or cuttings of wild populations established in our region.  As a result, they offer a variety of ecological benefits and are best-suited to Vermont conditions. This year we purchased locally-sourced plants from the Intervale Conservation Nursery in Burlington, VT; Arcana Nursery in Jericho, VT; and the State of New Hampshire Division of Forest and Lands Nursery in Concord, NH; all of which have a selection of plants grown from harvested seeds or cuttings from established, wild populations of native species and have then grown the plants from one to several years until ready for sale. Wild populations have greater genetic diversity than cultivated stock and have evolved with local diseases and competing species. Local, native plants have evolved with native wildlife and are best suited to provide food and habitat resources for them. Vermont has a strong localvore movement; purchasing locally-sourced native plants (such as balsam fir, red osier dogwood and more!) supports the local economy and the local environment!

WNRCD actively promotes green stormwater infrastructure through various programs such as Let it Rain, by assisting with the installation of rain gardens to manage stormwater. This year we are offering rain garden perennials (great for other types of landscaping too!) from the nursery at Arcana Gardens & Greenhouses. Arcana nursery has made a commitment to developing a local seed collection program with the goal of growing Vermont native plants from wild Vermont seed; Arcana grows plants to the highest organic standards: directly from seed whenever possible, and in locally blended soil mixes.  If you are interested in selecting plants from our sale that help you meet a specific conservation goal, take a look at our chart to find out which plants are best for attracting backyard wildlife and pollinators, stabilizing stream banks or using in rain gardens.

We are looking forward to this year’s Tree Sale and are excited about our new offerings. Please see our full tree sale brochure here.  Be sure to check out our Tree Sale page on our website for all the details. The District would like to express its gratitude to the generous sponsors of our tree sale and to thank the businesses who have donated raffle items for our tree sale raffle!
Sponsors:
        

Raffle Donors:
  

Pre-orders are due March 24th.  Purchased trees must be picked up on Saturday April 26th from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm in either Williston or Berlin. Volunteers are needed on the day of the sale and the Thursday before.
Please contact Sophie Sauvé, sophie@winooskinrcd.org to sign-up as a volunteer!


Trout Sale

In addition to our Annual Tree Sale, we will also be hosting a Spring Trout Sale.  We are happy to provide landowners with the opportunity to purchase brook and rainbow trout directly through the District. By ordering in bulk, we can offer the fish at very low cost.  Those who are interested in purchasing trout can read more details on our Trout Sale page.  We will be taking orders until April 11Smaller fish must be picked up on April 29 between 4:30 and 6:00 PM at Rusty Parker Memorial Park in Waterbury, Vermont.  Larger fish will be delivered directly to ponds that same day.  For more information about the Trout Sale, please contact Meghan Gilbart, Habitat Restoration Specialist, Meghan@winooskinrcd.org.
 
  2013 was another busy and exciting year for the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District. As we begin planning and implementing projects for 2014, it’s a good time to take a moment and reflect on our accomplishments and activities since our last newsletter.
 

2013 WNRCD Field and Forestry Tour


Each year the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District (WNRCD) visits field and forestry sites across our District that display exemplary conservation efforts. In October of 2013, WNRCD staff and supervisory board visited two sites within Chittenden County that demonstrated a strong commitment to environmental stewardship. District staff and supervisors were given tours of the Shaker Meadow Homeowners’ Association in Huntington, a buffer planting along the Huntington River and of Geprags Park in Hinesburg. The site tours highlighted a dedication to wildlife enhancement and other important conservation work.
Mark LaBarr, Conservation Program Manager with Audubon Vermont, showing District staff and supervisors the diversified landscape that is important to golden-winged warblers in Geprags Park, Hinesburg.

Mark LaBarr, Conservation Program Manager with Audubon Vermont, gave WNRCD staff and board members a guided tour of Geprags Park, located off Shelburne Falls Road.  Aiming to enhance the habitat adopted by golden-winged warblers and other early successional migratory birds, conservation programs such as Natural Resources Conservation Services’ (NRCS) Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) and the US Fish and Wildlife Partners for Fish and Wildlife have helped Audubon direct work towards creating pockets within the park that are ideal for these species. An inviting habitat for the birds was created through increasing the diversity of habitat structure by opening views and developing a mosaic of habitat patches. 

WNRCD toured a recent buffer planting in Huntington along the main stem of the Huntington River. Four adjacent landowners jointly agreed to a 2-acre riparian buffer planting spanning across their properties. The trees were planted with funding from the Ecosystem Restoration Program for the District’s 2013 Winooski Riparian Buffers program. The four landowners are working together to protect the river banks along their properties.
Rehabbed logging road on the Shaker Meadow Homeowner’s Association land, Huntington.
Representatives from the Shaker Meadow Homeowners’ Association in Huntington provided the WNRCD board and staff with a tour highlighting the important conservation work completed on their common land. With over 200 acres shared between twelve private owners, the association is unique to the Winooski District. Over the past few years, the homeowners have worked together to address land use on their common land, and to participate in NRCS programs that help provide technical assistance and payment incentives to restore habitats. Through the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP), the association received technical assistance from the VT Fish and Wildlife WHIP Coordinator Dave Adams in identifying areas that were ideal for early successional plantings, tree removal, retention and release, and to provide resting and nesting areas for wildlife including rabbits, wild turkeys, deer, migratory and resident birds.  In addition, through EQUIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program), an eroding log road was evaluated and Northern NRCS Forester with the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation Daniel Singleton, created water bars to divert water from the road. He also seeded and mulched the log road this past fall to help slow erosion. 
District staff and board members enjoyed the opportunity to visit these sites and to see the impressive conservation work being accomplished within our District.
 

 

Annual Dinner

WNRCD’s Annual Dinner was held on November 14th in Waterbury at the Waterbury Congregational Church. All had a delicious chicken pie dinner and were treated to an informative talk from our guest speaker, Research Associate Gary Hawley from the University of Vermont. Gary spoke about green roofs and shared specific data collected from the green roof on UVM’s Aiken building.

Gary Hawley, Research Associate at the University of Vermont, giving a presentation on green roofs at our annual dinner
District staff reviewed the year’s accomplishments and presented 2013’s Conservation Stewardship Award. Each year the District honors the landowners they visit during the field and forest tour and awards one of the landowners with a Conservation Stewardship Award. This year, the award was presented to the Shaker Meadows Homeowners’ Association. A special thank you to all the local Vermont companies that donated items to our raffle and to our District supervisors for donating items for our door prizes! Please join us for our Annual Dinner next year; all are welcome and encouraged to attend this fun and informative event. If you would like to stay updated about this and other WNRCD events, please contact Sophie Sauvé, District Manager,  sophie@winooskinrcd.org.
 

 

Plainfield Gully: Studying Environmental Impacts and Stabilization Options

WNRCD received funding from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s (VT DEC) Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) to gather detailed information and develop recommendations for the stabilization of a large gully in Plainfield, VT.  The gully drains a watershed of approximately 0.2 square miles, and flows into Great Brook, a tributary of the upper Winooski River. The current length of the gully is 1,124 feet and the volume of the gully was estimated to be 152,377 cubic yards. An estimated 75% of the eroded sediment has made its way to Great Brook over the past 50 years. Previous fluvial geomorphic and surficial geologic studies of the Great Brook watershed have identified the gully as a major contributor of sediment and phosphorus input to the Great Brook. The gully is characterized as one of the most significant erosion problems in Washington County by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

WNRCD hired Milone & MacBroom Consulting to complete a phase 1 assessment of the gully to understand the current state, future growth, and possible methods for stabilization. The analysis suggests that large runoff events such as intense thunderstorms or snowmelt initiate erosion via destabilization of the toe of the gully walls, and subsequent erosion takes place as the upper walls collapse and widen. Large flows entering the gully are likely the main cause of gully formation and sediment transport out of the gully and into the Great Brook. In the past 50 years the gully has increased in size from 0.2 acres to 2.3 acres. The NRCS soil survey shows highly erodible fine sands at the project site. The gully has been cutting down through the erodible soil and widening into adjacent agricultural lands. If no action is taken at the gully site it is expected that erosion will continue, the gully will continue to grow, and more eroded sediment will be transported to the Great Brook. The estimated costs for stabilization are close to $1 million dollars, an amount well above the typical grants sought by our organization. For more information about the Plainfield gully, please contact WNRCD 802-288-8155 Ext 104 or email Meghan@winooskinrcd.org
 

Headwaters of the Winooski River Agricultural Workshop

The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District as part of the Winooski Headwaters Community Partnership hosted a workshop on water quality issues affecting agriculture on January 14, 2014 at the Marshfield Town Hall. Guest speakers included natural resources experts from state and federal agencies and a private environmental consulting firm. The Winooski Headwaters Community Partnership is a locally-led effort to restore and protect the upper portion, or headwaters, of the Winooski watershed. Its work is directed by the Conservation Commissions of Cabot, Marshfield, and Plainfield. The Friends of the Winooski River and the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District provide facilitation and staff support for the partnership.

Marli Rupe, VT DEC, discussed using grassed waterways as a practice to reduce gullying and agricultural erosion.
Photo Credit: Natural Resources Conservation Service
Phosphorus reduction is a hot topic affecting agriculture across the state of Vermont. The District invited Marli Rupe, from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC) to talk to farmers in the Winooski River headwaters region about potential upcoming changes to regulations concerning phosphorus loading and how those changes may affect local landowners. Marli discussed the work being done to address Lake Champlain’s Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for phosphorus and answered questions about how new goals are expected to be met. Rick Hopkins, also from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC) spoke about programs available to farmers and other landowners that can help fund practices to improve water quality and reduce phosphorus inputs into waterways. Mark Marsh and Danny Peet of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) spoke about soil health and programs available to farmers to maintain soil quality. Julie Moore of Stone Environmental spoke about a project in the Missisquoi watershed using LiDAR technology to identify critical source areas for phosphorus pollution. Identifying these areas and preventing disturbance to these areas prevents significant phosphorus loads from entering the waterways.

Connecting with the agricultural community to help decipher new or more stringent environmental regulations as they are developed is important to the District’s mission. Through education and outreach we hope to provide information and direction for farmers in our District to help ease conformance to new regulations and to support those who wish to lead the way.
 
If you would like to stay informed about upcoming agricultural workshops, please contact Sophie Sauvé, District Manager, Sophie@winooskinrcd.org
 

Looking for Landowners to Participate in the Trees for Streams Buffer Planting Program

The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District (WNRCD) received funding this year from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s (VT DEC) Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) to support the Trees for Streams (TFS) Program. TFS is a model program developed by the Lamoille Conservation District and used since 1999 to enhance riparian buffers on private lands throughout Vermont. Funding is currently available for Vermont landowners who want to participate in the TFS program by adding a buffer of trees and shrubs along their streamside properties. The District is looking for landowners within Chittenden County, Washington County, and the towns of Orange, Washington and Williamstown who would like to plant a riparian buffer on their property.

Riparian buffers are an important component of riverine ecosystems and serve many functions, from pollutant mitigation to stream bank stabilization, which is why they are emphasized in the watershed plans developed by the VT DEC as priority projects to improve water quality. When buffers are planted at least 35 feet wide, they can provide cover and food for wildlife. The US Fish and Wildlife Partners for Fish and Wildlife program (USFW Partners) provides matching funds for the TFS program for buffer widths of 35 feet or greater.  The USFW Partners program began in 1990 and provides a voluntary program for landowners to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat on their property.

This year WNRCD has been working closely with four landowners in the towns of Jericho, Underhill, Waterbury and Huntington and will plant a total of eight acres of riparian buffers through the TFS and USFW Partners programs.  We have additional funding for the fall and for the spring of 2015.  For more information on the TFS program, or to set up a site visit on your property, call WNRCD at (802) 288-8155 x104 or email Meghan@winooskinrcd.org.
 

Connecting with our Legislators

The District received $7,250 in base funding from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture for fiscal year 2013. Although this funding makes up a small portion (2%) of the District’s total income, these funds are vitally important to our day-to-day operations and for continuing our conservation programs. WNRCD staff is reaching out to legislators in the District by sharing a fact sheet that contains information about our financial operations and the work we accomplished in fiscal year 2013. If you would like to request a hard copy of the fact sheet, please email info@winooskinrcd.org.
 

Students Volunteer to Clean-Up Streams in their Communities

The Chittenden County Stream Team (CCST), a program managed by WNRCD, worked with two volunteer groups to host stream-clean-ups this past fall. In Milton, Boy Scout Troop #631 bravely faced the cold, rainy weather to clean up trash along the Lamoille River Walk. They collected over ten bags of trash and four tires from the area. On Halloween, a class of 8th grade science students from Shelburne Central School walked along McCabe Brook removing trash while learning about stream health and non-point source pollution. The students participated in a discussion about the ways that activities in their local watershed affect Lake Champlain.

Boy Scout Troop #631 in Milton pulling tires from the Lamoille River, along the Lamoille River walk.
To learn more about the Chittenden County Stream Team or to help plan an event in your community, contact Laura Dlugolecki, Stormwater Specialist, laura@winooskinrcd.org.
 

Winooski Natural Resource Conservation District
Board of Supervisors

Mike Raboin (Chair, Orange), Jeffrey Cueto (Vice-Chair, East Montpelier), Paul Hartshorn (Secretary, Waitsfield), Rita Bisson (Treasurer, Orange), Lawrence Rowley (Supervisor, Milton), Don Hipes (Associate Supervisor, Jericho), Julie Moore (Associate Supervisor, Middlesex). 
Laura Dlugolecki, Urban Conservation Specialist
Meghan Gilbart, Habitat Restoration Specialist
Sophie Sauvé, District Manager
Cherie Staples, Bookkeeper
Berlin Office:
802-828-4493 x 110
Williston Office:
802-288-8155 x 104
Visit Winooskinrcd.org.... see what we do in your district, learn, and get involved!

 
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