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Friday, July 30, 2021

Over 15,000 trees and shrubs planted to restore riparian areas across Orleans County

NEWPORT — This spring five landowners in Orleans County planted 15,165 trees and shrubs on 50 acres adjacent to streams and rivers.

There are 7,100 miles of rivers and streams in the state of Vermont, of which 195 waters or segments of waters are impaired, 115 stressed, and at least 56 waters altered due to aquatic nuisance species.

The Orleans County Natural Resources Conservation District (OCNRCD) and many other local, state, and federal partners, such as the Northwoods Stewardship Center and the Missisquoi Basin Association, working in the Orleans County watersheds have grant funds to support landowners in the Memphremagog Basin and Missisquoi River watersheds.

Establishing and monitoring successful riparian buffer plantings utilizes landowner involvement, volunteers, local contractors, and a proactive, science-based method for site prioritization and restoration.

Natural vegetated buffers of shrubs, trees, and herbaceous plants are relatively easily developed, planted, and maintained at a reasonable cost.

Misty Koloski, a dairy farmer in Newport Center, is one of the landowners who revegetated areas this spring.

“Our experience with this project was certainly positive and the outcome great,” Koloski said. “With the assistance provided planting a riparian buffer and putting up a fence to get the heifers out of the stream our family organic dairy is positioned to improve the watershed and the small game habitat around our farm.”

This project was funded by the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

Over time, these buffer projects will benefit the water quality by filtering overland flow waters, improving aquatic habitat to moderate water temperature and providing structure for fish, protecting riverbanks to provide stability and restore equilibrium to the rivers and increase scenic functions.

All of these benefits have been proven critical to the long-term health of water bodies especially on the 81 waters or segments of water in the state that are impaired and require an EPA imposed Total Maximum Daily Load plan, which includes Lake Memphremagog.

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