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The Conservation Connection Volume 3, Issue 3
Fall, 2014

Come help us celebrate another successful year of natural resource conservation on November 13th, 2014 at the Waterbury Congregational Church/ White Meeting House at 5:30pm for our Annual Meeting and Chicken Pie Super.  We will hear a presentation from our guest speaker, Bird Diva Bridget Butler, give an overview of the District's work during the past year and honor this year’s conservation stewards.  Raffles of local goods, door prizes and a delicious chicken dinner are not to be missed!  Tickets are $15.  RSVPs and carpools of more than three people earn five extra door prize tickets! Please RSVP by November 1st.  We look forward to seeing you there!
In this issue:
Win a Tree Sale Gift Certificate!

Announcing WNRCD's Tree Photo Competition! 
Fall is upon us, but 'stick' season is a wonderful time to give your camera some 'exercise' and feed your creative soul by entering our photo contest! Send us your best digital image of a tree you planted from WNRCD's tree sale (any year/ size tree is acceptable) by November 6th, 2014 to enter the chance to win a $25 gift certificate towards WNRCD's 2015 Annual Tree and Shrub Sale (April 2015). The winner will be announced at our Annual Meeting on November 13th, 2014.  (Hint: come influence your photo's chance of winning by attending the meeting!) More information is available on our website at: www.winooskinrcd.org. Contact Sophie Sauvé, District Manager, for more information or call 802-828-4493 x110.
Trees for Streams
Riparian Buffer Plantings in the Winooski Conservation District

The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District received an Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) grant from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VTDEC) to complete eight acres of riparian buffer plantings in 2014. The District collaborated with the US Fish and Wildlife Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (Partners) and the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps (VYCC) on plantings in both the spring and the fall.

The buffers planted with ERP funding are located in Waterbury, along Thatcher Brook, a tributary of the Winooski River; in Huntington along the main stem of the Huntington River, a tributary of the Winooski River; in Jericho along Mill Brook, a tributary of the Winooski River and in Underhill along Harvey Brook, a tributary of the Brown’s River.  Six acres of riparian buffers were planted along these streams and the remaining two acres will be added to these plantings with the help of the VYCC and Partners in November.

WNRCD staff and Partners visited the buffer planting sites in September to assess the tree and shrub establishment. The plants are doing really well in their new locations. 

The District also received a grant from the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts (VACD) to fund further Trees for Streams buffer plantings this fall.  The District will be planting a 1-acre buffer along Union Brook in Northfield in November with the help of volunteers. If you would like to volunteer on this or future buffer plantings, please contact: info@winooskinrcd.org.

Riparian buffers help protect surface waters by reducing the impacts of stressors including channel erosion(the roots of woody plants bind stream bank soils); encroachment (forested buffers provide greater habitat and surface water protection than mowed lawns); invasive species (established native vegetation is more resistant to invasive spread); land erosion (riparian buffers provide barriers slow down and reduce sheet-flow based erosion); non-erosion nutrient loading – phosphorus and nitrogen - (planting riparian buffers in residential areas reduces the area of fertilized lawns and helps reduce their impact to streams); pathogens (woody buffers help reduce the amount of sediment entering the stream that could carry pathogens); and thermal stress (one major cause of thermal stress to aquatic systems is an insufficient riparian buffer). In addition, buffers can attenuate damage from floods.

Culvert Passage After
Photos of the planting sites in Waterbury (left) and Underhill (right) taken in the fall. These trees were planted in the spring of 2014.

For more information about the project or if you are interested in planting a buffer on your property or the Trees for Streams program, please contact Darren Schibler, Habitat Restoration Specialist, at 802-288-8155 x104.
Partner Highlight: The Winooski Valley Park District
Keeping Track Monitoring Program (KTMP)


The Winooski Valley Park District is excited to announce that it will be partnering with Keeping Track ® and Sue Morse this fall to offer a Keeping Track Monitoring Program (KTMP) course for individuals interested in learning more about wildlife species and habitat conservation in their community. The KTMP course trains citizen volunteers and professionals alike to detect, identify, interpret and record the tracks and other signs of wildlife that are critical to local ecological health. As a participant, you’ll gain valuable skills in identifying habitat types and designing and monitoring study areas. The course will meet in the field one weekend day a month in the field (entirely outdoors) from 8:30am until 4:00pm, with two additional lecture/potluck dinners.
 
FIELD DATES FOR COURSE:
-        October 4th  - Wolf Run, Jericho, Vermont
-        December 6th – Montgomery, Vermont (exact location TDB)
-        January 17th – Colchester Pond, Colchester, Vermont
-        February 8th – Wolf Run, Jericho, Vermont
-        March 7th – Wolf Run, Jericho, Vermont
-        April 11th – Ethan Allen Homestead, Burlington, Vermont
-        PLUS two evening lecture/potlucks (dates/locations TBD) 5:30-10:00pm
 
The Winooski Valley Park District is looking for interested individuals to join our team who will help us in continued monitoring of sites at our various parks throughout the region. To learn more about Keeping Track and the KTMP course please visit keepingtrack.org. To become a part of the Winooski Valley Park District’s team and register for the KTMP course please contact Lauren at info@wvpd.org or call (802) 863-5744.

The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District (WNRCD) received a Communities Caring for Tree Canopy Grant from the Vermont Department of Forest Parks and Recreation. WNRCD, in collaboration with the City of Winooski and the Vermont Monitoring Cooperative (VMC), is conducting an urban canopy inventory to quantify ecosystem services provided by urban trees. Student volunteers from the University of Vermont Rubenstein School of the Environment are gaining experience using a forest inventory method called i-Tree developed by the US Forest Service and used in urban areas across the country. The students have been working through August and September to collect tree metrics on randomly selected plots throughout the City of Winooski.

Over the winter, the data will be analyzed and the results will provide information to the City of Winooski and community members about the important ecosystem services, such as carbon storage and stormwater absorption, provided by urban trees. The results of the study will be used by the City of Winooski to plan future tree plantings that will maximize ecosystem services. Some of the grant funds from this project will be directed to future tree plantings in Winooski.

For more information about Caring for Canopies contact Laura Dlugolecki, Urban Stormwater Specialist, at 802-288-8155 x 104.
Seeking Horse Owners
to Participate in a Manure Composting Program!

The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District received an Ecosystem Restoration Grant from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation to develop a horse manure composting program. Small horse farms produce a significant quantity of manure; each day a mature horse can produce up to a cubic foot of manure. When horse manure is not managed properly it can leach nutrients and pathogens to surface and groundwater.

The District is looking for small horse farms (owners of 1-5 horses) located on or near streams to participate in the composting program. Participants will receive composting bins and consultation in their use. If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact Laura Dlugolecki for more information: laura@winooskinrcd.org or 802-288-8155 Ext 104.
Connecting the Drops 2.0
Stormwater Outreach with a Twist!

 
For the second consecutive year, the Connecting the Drops stormwater outreach campaign engaged community members in stormwater issues through art and education. This year, five rain barrels adorned by local artists were displayed in Essex Junction’s Maple Street Park. Illustrated Panels displayed next to the barrels featured “The Stormwater Story," developed by Kids VT in 2013. The panels describe stormwater issues in Vermont and what individuals can do to reduce impacts.

This year's Connecting the Drops campaign was a collaborative effort between the Chittenden County Stream Team, the Regional Stormwater Education Program, the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, the Towns of Essex and Essex Junction and five local artists. Displaying local, unique artwork on rain barrels in public places is a great way to connect important environmental messages with Vermont’s vibrant arts community.

The Connecting the Drops campaign encourages homeowners to install rain barrels, but also to learn about the use of other stormwater mitigation practices including rain gardens, downspout disconnections, and vegetated swales. Throughout the campaign, the uniquely decorated rain barrels were on display in Maple Street Park and visitors to the rain barrels were encouraged to sign-up to win a barrel. Over 400 people signed up for a chance to win a one-of-a-kind-rain barrel.

Connecting the Drops was kicked off in June of 2014 with the installation of the barrels and a build-your-own rain barrel workshop for the community. The campaign culminated with a draw on stage at the Essex Junction Block Party to select winners of the artist-decorated barrels. Kathryn Arsovski, Kelly Adams, Molly Bucci, Shirley Fitzgerald and Patricia Crowley were the lucky winners who received barrels decorated by artists Bryan Miller, Tara Goreau, Haley Bishop, Jacklyn Bishop and Johanne Yordan, respectively. Congratulations to the winners who now have the chance to collect stormwater in very unique and eye-catching barrels! The high level of participation and interaction with the exhibit by local residents has led to another successful year of the Connecting the Drops stormwater outreach campaign. Be on the look-out for next summer’s Connecting the Drops exhibit in another town in Chittenden County.
Lucky Winners Molly Bucci (on left, with barrel by artist Haley Bishop)
and Kelly Adams (with barrel by artist Tara Goreau)

For more information on Connecting the Drops, please contact Laura Dlugolecki, Urban Stormwater Specialist, at 802-288-8155 x104.

The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District manages the Chittenden County Stream Team’s (CCST) adopt-a-rain-garden program which maintains nine public rain gardens. New and existing rain garden adopters worked this spring and summer to provide maintenance to the gardens. Rita Dessau recently adopted the rain garden located at the Williston Town Hall Annex. This garden was in need of a lot of care, as it had not had an adopter for some time. Rita has weeded, planted new plants and spread mulch to improve the garden. During the summer, Nyame Fawohodie, a science learning facilitator for ECHO, coordinated multiple student work days to care for the rain garden at the Coast Guard Station in Burlington (see photo). A new adopter, Wiley Reading, has agreed to take over care for the Coast Guard Station rain garden following the completion of the ECHO summer programs. The Stream Team would like to extend a special thanks to Ann Pearce and Stephanie Miner for their generous donation of rain garden plants.

Thanks to Jon Becker who has dutifully helped maintain the Farrell Park rain garden in South Burlington for a number of years. Jon is moving away from Vermont, so the Stream Team is looking for someone willing to care for this unique garden. The stream Team is also looking for a rain garden adopter willing to care for a garden at Brownell Library in Essex Junction.

For more information about rain gardens or to learn about how you can volunteer for the CCST, contact Laura Dlugolecki, Urban Stormwater Specialist at 802-288-8155 x104 or go to www.ccstreamteam.org
Partners' Highlight: Friends of the Mad River
New Culvert in Fayston is Ready for Flood and Fish

 
A new, larger and improved culvert now allows Lockwood Brook to pass beneath Manlin Road in Fayston. The old culvert – a combination of corrugated metal pipe and concrete – was too small for the Lockwood Brook system and in Tropical Storm Irene (and other storms) damming by debris and overtopping floodwaters caused major damage to private property and town road infrastructure.
 
This summer, the Town of Fayston road crew installed a concrete box culvert engineered to state standards and designed to pass regular floods as well as fish! The old culvert caused flooding, but also blocked aquatic organisms moving upstream. A drop at the culvert outlet, high in-culvert water velocity, or shallow in-culvert water depth can cause problems for trout as they try to reach their upstream habitat. The new culvert is the right size for the stream and is embedded with a natural channel bottom, allowing fish movement. Access to upstream habitat is important for trout species in the face of a warming climate because upstream habitat offers the cooler water they need for survival. 
 
Since Irene, Friends of the Mad River (FMR) has been working with watershed municipalities and state and federal partners to identify culverts that are problematic from both a flooding and fish habitat perspective. 
 
Now, construction work is complete and the appropriately-sized culvert is in place.  Friends of the Mad River will coordinate the site’s rehabilitation this fall with tree and shrub plantings.

For more information about efforts to build flood resilience and aquatic organism passage in the Mad River watershed, contact Corrie Miller at Friends of the Mad River. FMR is a community-supported organization dedicated to conserving the ecological, recreational, and community values of the Mad River and its watershed.
 
The Vermont Portable Skidder Bridge Rental Program started in 2007 with pilot rental programs in Lamoille and Rutland Counties.  Through resources and technical assistance from the Northern Vermont Resource Conservation and Development Council, Natural Resource Conservation Districts coordinate the rental of the bridges for $100 a month. The Winooski NRCD rental program has a bridge available at Fontaine’s Sawmill in East Montpelier and Lamell's Lumber Corporation in Essex. 
 
For more information about the rental programs through the WNRCD or other rental locations in Vermont, please contact Sophie Sauvé, District Manager, at 802-828-4493 x 110.
Aerator Available for Rent!

AeratorThe Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District has a Model 1200S Gen-Till 11 ¼ ft aerator available for rent. The District purchased the aerator in 2012 with a grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program. As a service to residents of our District, the aerator is available for rent for $3/acre.

We promote the use of the aeration tiller because of the water quality benefits it can provide. The tiller can increase infiltration into the soil, decrease compaction of the soil and prevent 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.
Winooki NRCD's Local Working Group Meeting, will be scheduled for early October/ late November 2014. For an update, please contact sophie@winooskinrcd.org or check our website or facebook page for updates!
Winooski Natural Resource Conservation District
Board of Supervisors

Mike Raboin (Chair, Orange), Jeffrey Cueto (Vice-Chair, East Montpelier), Paul Hartshorn (Secretary, Waitsfield), Lawrence Rowley (Treasurer, Milton), Russ Barrett (Supervisor, Northfield), Don Hipes (Associate Supervisor, Jericho), Julie Moore (Associate Supervisor, Middlesex). 
Changes at WNRCD: Please join us in bidding Rita Bisson, long-time WNRCD board member, adieu as she and her husband, Gerard, relocate to Virginia to be closer to their daughter and her family. Rita has been a vital member of the District and community, providing guidance to staff and supervisors and always ready to pitch in. Rita, your enthusiasm for the District is missed!

Please join us in welcoming Darren Schibler as WNRCD's new Habitat Restoration Specialist. He joins us with an enthusiasm for streams and wetlands and has recently started working out of our Williston office.
Laura Dlugolecki, Urban Conservation Specialist
Darren Schibler, 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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