NEWPORT — On a recent beautiful fall morning, neighbors on Derby Bay gathered by Lake Memphremagog to learn about the importance of shoreland buffers. Dr. Perry Thomas, professor of aquatic biology at CCV, spoke with the group about the impressive variety of plant and animal life found by lake shores, helping them understand the value of a healthy buffer.
Judy Davis, Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds (FOVLAP) board director, spoke about the value of shrubs such as blueberries in a buffer. Participants went home with new knowledge and blueberry bushes to plant on their property to enhance lake health.
The Buffer for Blue Lakes Workshop was presented by the Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds and sponsored by Memphremagog Watershed Association (MWA).
Vegetative shoreland buffers, located along lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands and ponds, are the single most effective protection for water quality, lake ecosystems and essential wildlife habitat. These strips of ground covers, shrubs, and trees serve as transitional areas where land and water meet to create unique and highly productive ecosystems.
The canopy created by trees, shrubs and herbaceous vegetation moderates the impact of heavy rains, shades the shoreline to reduce water temperature, and produces organic matter and woody debris essential to shallow-water ecology. Root systems give soil structure, hold soil in place, direct rainfall down into the soil instead of over the soil, and can extract nutrients and contaminates from soil.
The abundance of water and the diversity of plant communities in vegetated buffers help support a variety of aquatic and terrestrial life. They also provide valuable social, economic and environmental benefits.
There will be more of these neighborhood workshops in the 2015 season.