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The Conservation Connection Volume3, Issue 2
Spring 2014
Welcome!
Conservation Connections is the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District (WNRCD)'s quarterly newsletter.  In it we highlight past and current projects, underline programs that can benefit members of our District, and serve as a reminder of services we offer.  We welcome your thoughts and feedback and hope you can benefit from the programs we offer.
In this issue:
Thank you for supporting our work!
Thank you to everyone who made our 31st Annual Tree Sale a success! Through the dedication of over 45 volunteers from our board of supervisors, UVM Extension Master Gardeners, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and the community at large, we battled cold temperatures, biting wind and then rain to pack and distribute orders. A special thanks to our tree planting demonstrator, Jeffrey Howard, for being extra brave and leading another wonderful demonstration!

In total, we had over 295 orders and 7,191 plants were sold!

This year, 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 and these were well received by our customers and we’re hoping to expand options in years to come.

We’re also pleased to report that the Trout Sale was also a success, with 1,200 Rainbow and Brook Trout finding new homes in ponds (and bellies!) throughout the District.

If you would like a heads-up in January about either the Tree or Trout sale or both, please email us at info@winooskinrcd.org to be added to our Tree and Trout Sale list.
 

The Chittenden County Stream TRain Barrel Workshop Shelburneeam (CCST), administered by the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District, partnered with the Shelburne Natural Resources Committee to offer a hands-on workshop on building rain barrels. The workshop was held on April 19th and provided all the supplies and instructions necessary to build, maintain and install a rain barrel.

Rain Barrels are placed at downspouts and provide an efficient, low-cost method for collecting rainwater. Rainwater stored in a rain barrel has many uses, including providing water for lawns, flower gardens, houseplants, or washing your dog or car. Stormwater, which is rain and snow runoff, can carry sediments and pollutants from parking lots, roofs, compacted soils and roads into our waterways. 
 
CCCST Rain Barrel making workshop
participants in Shelburne, April 2014.

 
Stormwater affects fish habitat, drinking water quality and recreation and is a major concern for our local rivers, streams and Lake Champlain. By collecting and storing rainwater in a rain barrel, stormwater runoff can be prevented from entering local streams, ponds and the lake. Rain barrel owners also have the benefit of conserving resources and saving money on water bills by having access to 'free' water to slowly release into the ground during the drier parts of the summer. Please note that water from rain barrels connected to rooftops should not be used for vegetable gardening, due to possible pollutants leaching from rooftops or being picked up along the way.
  
Future rain barrel making workshops are being planned in Chittenden County by WNRCD. If you are interested in participating, please contact Laura Dlugolecki, Stormwater Specialist, for details: laura@winooskinrcd.org,  802-288-8155 Ext 104.

The Winooski Conservation District (WNRCD) received funding from the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) to develop the project entitled Let it Rain – Soak it for Schools!

The Let it Rain – Soak it for Schools! Program is a result of a growing need to expand knowledge of issues regarding stormwater to Vermont schools. Let it Rain, a program managed jointly by the WNRCD and Lake Champlain Sea Grant (LCSG), emerged as an effort to coordinate and implement low impact development (LID) and specifically, green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) throughout the Lake Champlain Basin. The Soak it for Schools! Program will target Let it Rain’s four core focus areas: education, communication, demonstration and participation specifically towards children and their school campuses as learning laboratories.

Building upon the demonstrated success of the first years of the Let it Rain Stormwater Mitigation Program, Soak it for Schools! ads an additional facet to community awareness around stormwater.  While Lake Champlain’s new Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for phosphorus is being reviewed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Soak it For Schools! Program will create tools for students and teachers to connect these State-level conversations to their realities by evaluating their own contribution to stormwater runoff, including pollutants and sediments, as well as ways to address it on their campuses (and ultimately, at their homes).

A vital part of the program will be testing the ‘toolkit’ with children, teachers and other youth leaders throughout the Lake Champlain Basin. As part of the funding, WNRCD staff will facilitate delivery of the toolkit to schools throughout the Basin in the fall of 2014.  We are seeking input from interested teachers and youth group leaders, as well as offering to facilitate a class (or more!) around stormwater in the fall of 2014.

The project is funded by an agreement awarded by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to the New England Interstate Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) in partnership with the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP).  NEIWPCC manages LCBP’s personnel, contract, grand, and budget tasks and provides input on the program’s activities through a partnership with the LCBP Steering Committee.

For more information about involving students in learning about green stormwater infrastructure or to learn about what you can do to improve the water quality of Lake Champlain and its many tributaries, contact Sophie Sauvé at the Winooski Conservation District at 802-828-4493 x110 or sophie@winooskinrcd.org.
 

The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District (WNRCD) received funding this year from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s (VTDEC) Ecosystem Restoration Program 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.
 
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 VTDEC 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 provides matching funds for the TFS program for buffer that are planted at widths 35 feet or greater. The Partners program began in 1990 and provides a voluntary program for landowners to restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat on their property.
 
This spring, WNRCD worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Partners and Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) to plant buffers on 4 different properties in the towns of Jericho, Underhill, Waterbury and Huntington.  The VYCC did an outstanding job planting over 2,000 trees and installing fascines made of shrub willow. A few of the properties will receive another planting in the fall, bringing the total of riparian buffer plantings through this year’s Trees for Streams Program in the Winooski Conservation District to 8 acres!
 
We are always eager to hear from interested landowners who would like more information on the TFS program and how we might collaborate on planting riparian buffers on their properties. 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 info@winooskinrcd.org.
Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) crew member, Spring 2014
Free Soil and/ or Manure Samples available to Small Livestock Farmers –
Agricultural Outreach Initiative (AOI)

Nutrient Management Plans or NMPs have reduced the cost of fertilizer use on farms by an average of 23%.  Nutrient Management Plans can help farms optimize yield goals, minimize inputs, and reduce the potential of water quality impacts from nutrient runoff.  Currently in Vermont, medium and large farms are required to have NMPs, but small farms can benefit from a NMP to improve their agronomics and to protect waterways near or adjacent to their farms.
 
Conservation Districts throughout Vermont are initiating conversations with small livestock farmers about NMP and through funding from the Agricultural Outreach Initiative (AOI), are offering free assistance to learn more about developing a NMP.  Conservation Districts will provide free soil and manure sampling on a limited basis for farms that elect to enroll in a NMP 101 class or a full nutrient management course for small livestock farmers offered next winter by the University of Vermont Extension services. Where a NMP 101 class will introduce farmers to the components of a Nutrient Management Plan, the full course will lead farmers through the development and implementation of a NMP.  The soil and manure samples will be evaluated during the course, enabling farmers to gain an understanding of the importance of NMP and planning from both economic and environmental perspectives. 

Scheduling for soil and manure sampling will begin in June. This program is funded by the Agricultural Outreach Initiative, with support from the VT Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

For information about participating in the Agricultural Outreach Initiative or to learn about what you can do to improve the water quality of your local waterways in your area, contact Sophie Sauvé at the Winooski Conservation District at 802-828-4493 x110 or sophie@winooskinrcd.org.
Staff members from the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation donned hard hats and worked steadily in the open air of the Northerneastern Forest Products Equipment Loggers’ Expo in Essex Junction in mid-May to put together the three panels that come to form a portable skidder bridge. The timbers, made from hemlock, are an economical way to build a skidder bridge, which typically lasts between 3-5 years, depending on level of use.  The three panels, 12’ wide when placed together, are each 4’ by 20’ form a heavy duty bridge 10” in thickness. With the help of log cabin screws and long threaded bolts, the timbers are firmly held together to handle the heavy equipment associated with logging.

The bridge is designed and intended to be used to temporarily to cross streams during logging operations.  Viewed as a Best Management Practice (BMP) for controlling non-point source pollution associated with timber harvesting operations, they create less bank and stream bed disturbance compared to alternatives. This, in turn, creates fewer disturbances on aquatic and other habitats and less remedial work after logging is complete.

There are two skidder bridges available for rent within the Winooski Conservation District. The ‘new’ bridge is housed at Lamell’s Lumber Corporation in Essex Junction and a second bridge is housed at Fontaine’s Saw Mill in East Montpelier. At $100 a month, it’s a small price to pay in an effort to protect our stream flow, fish passage and banks from erosion.

For more information about renting a skidder bridge or to learn about what you can do to improve the water quality of your nearby stream, lake or river, contact Sophie Sauvé at the Winooski Conservation District at 802-828-4493 x110 or sophie@winooskinrcd.org.

The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District has a standard 11 ¼ foot Gen-Till II Aerator available for rent for $3/acre. In 2012, WNRCD received grant funding from the Lake Champlain Basin Program for the purchase of an aeration tiller to promote conservation tillage across the district. Using an aerator on agricultural lands can help protect water quality by increasing infiltration into the soil, decreasing compaction of the soil and preventing excess nutrient runoff.

If you are a landowner interested in using the aerator, please contact Laura Dlugolecki, Urban Conservation Specialist, at 802-288-8155 ext. 104 or visit our website for more information and the aerator rental agreement.
The Chittenden County Stream Team has partnered with Lake Champlain Sea Grant to continue the Connecting the Drops stormwater outreach campaign again this summer. Five rain barrels have been decorated by professional artists and will be on display in Maple Street Park in Essex Junction beginning on June 9th. Each barrel will feature a unique design by a local artist and will direct viewers to educational information about stormwater and provide information on how to sign-up to win a barrel.  The barrels will be on display until the Essex Junction Block Party on Saturday July 19th where the barrels will be raffled off on stage!

To kick-off the Connecting the Drops outreach campaign, CCST will be hosting a build your own rain barrel workshop on Saturday June 14th @ 9am. The workshop will cost $30. Participants must pre-register to participate by contacting Laura Dlugolecki  802-288-8155 Ext 104 or
laura@winooskinrcd.org.

The Stream Team will have a table at the Essex Junction Block Party where we will have opportunities for the public to learn more about rain barrels and rain gardens. The Stream Team will also be giving tours of the rain garden at Brownell Library and will have a rain barrel for community members to decorate.
 
Partner Highlight: Friends of the Winooski River

The Friends of the Winooski River is a group dedicated to the protection and restoration of the Winooski River. Their goals are to reduce pollution, improve habitat, increase river stability and encourage passive and sustainable enjoyment of the river. The organization was founded in 1998 and is primarily a volunteer organization with a part time Executive Director and communications person. WNRCD collaborates on projects with the Friends and relies on the Friends for outreach into the Headwaters communities of the Winooski River.

This summer, the Friends are organizing a river cleanup in numerous locations throughout Washington County on August 9th.  Keep tabs on where these will be at www.winooskiriver.org and plan to participate! They are looking for volunteers to help out.  Email info@winooskiriver.org or call 882-8276 for more information.
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), Russ Barrett (Associate Supervisor, Montpelier), 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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