New efforts to protect Vermont’s rivers
VERMONT - In 2021, the Vermont River Conservancy took on two new and large projects in Guilford and Brattleboro, respectively, to improve wildlife habitat, keep communities safe, and ensure people will always have access to rivers for swimming, paddling, and fishing.
As an example of this continued commitment to public access, VRC finalized a multi-year project in Guilford, where local residents Steve and Linda Lembke worked closely with VRC to rally friends and neighbors to restore public access to the Green River. A 17.7-acre riverside parcel was being used as a junkyard, piled end to end with cars, refrigerators, old stoves, and other scrap metal. VRC and the Lembkes envisioned a different future: a verdant meadow that would provide habitat for monarchs and kingfishers; public access for families to swim, fish, and walk; and a hayfield tended by a local farmer.
Thanks to donations from many dedicated community members, the financial support of Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources, the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, the Green River Village Preservation Trust, and the Jane B. Cook 1992 Charitable Foundation, this year VRC realized this vision.
VRC is similarly working in downtown Brattleboro, where VRC recently purchased a 12-acre parcel on the banks of Whetstone Brook. Used as an industrial sawmill and lumber storage site for 120 years, the parcel has been filled with imported gravel, elevating the site well above the river. VRC, working closely with the town of Brattleboro, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Environmental Protection Agency, will remove nearly 40,000 cubic yards of gravel fill and plant a 100-foot-wide riparian buffer of native trees and shrubs.
When complete, the restored floodplain will provide critical flood protection to downtown Brattleboro homes and businesses, improve water quality, and restore bird and wildlife habitat. Also, with historic interpretive signs and all-abilities trails, the new park will provide recreation access for scores of families in the adjacent neighborhoods for fishing, wading, and the simple enjoyment of a peaceful walk.
For more information visit www.vermontriverconservancy.org or contact Richarda Ericson at Vermont River Conservancy at (802) 229-0820 or email@example.com.