The Winooski Natural Resource Conservation District is currently seeking landowners who live along rivers or streams within Chittenden County for their 2019 Trees for Streams program. The organization wants to work with these landowners to identify streambanks along their property that suffer from, or are vulnerable to, erosion and, if so, to coordinate riparian buffer plantings.
According to WNRCD district manager Gianna Petito, there are a number of smaller unnamed streams in the city, in addition to Potash Brook and Allen Brook.
“Our district work covers all of South Burlington, so any property along a waterway that could use and has space for a 35-foot vegetated buffer would be appropriate for the program,” she said. “We’ll reach out to interested individuals to learn more about their properties and whether it’s a good fit.”
Riparian buffers are the grasses, shrubs, and/or trees that grow along streams. In natural conditions, these plants colonize streambanks, controlling erosion and helping to filter and clean stormwater runoff before it enters waterways. Sometimes, historic land uses have removed these natural protective zones. Without this protection, streambanks become unstable, erode, and become a greater source of pollution. According to the Lake Champlain Basin Program’s most recent State of the Lake report, the erosion of streambanks accounts for 18 percent of Vermont’s total phosphorus loads into Lake Champlain.
The WNRCD is one of 14 conservation districts throughout Vermont. It encompasses all of Chittenden and Washington County as well as parts of Orange County (Orange, Williamstown and Washington). The WNRCD focuses its resources on completing conservation projects within the areas of agricultural assistance, forestland enhancement, urban conservation, and watershed stewardship.