News

Volunteer willow harvest event

The WRP is seeking volunteers to harvest live willow stakes on Sunday, April 9 from 2-4pm. The event is at Hurricane Flats Farm in South Royalton (975 South Windsor Street).

Volunteers should dress to work in wet and muddy conditions. The WRP will provide gloves, a few loppers, and light snacks – feel free to bring your own loppers if you have them.

Willows are native shrubs that grow along Vermont’s rivers. Live, dormant willow stakes that are 18-20” long and ½-1” in diameter can be pounded into the face of riverbanks where they will set roots and grow quickly. WRP volunteers will plant the willow stakes harvested on Saturday along the White River in Bethel and Granville this spring.

The WRP plants willows in the face of riverbanks and other native trees along the top of riverbanks to increase benefits to both the river and also to property owners. In the short-term fast-growing willows planted on riverbanks help stabilize soils while other vegetation takes hold. Over time the willow roots intertwine with roots of native trees planted along the top of the riverbanks, creating a dense underground network that makes the riverbank more resistant to erosion. Above ground the willows and other native trees improve water quality by filtering pollutants out of water running through the vegetation; improve habitat by providing food and cover for fish and wildlife; and reduce flood damages by slowing flood waters and capturing debris.Hurricane Flats spring 2013 (2)Hurricane Flats1 7-2-13

The WRP depends on volunteers to help us plant willows and other native trees along the river each spring. Stay tuned for opportunities to help plant 3,000 stems along the White River in early-May!

Photo caption: The photos were taken 2 months apart at the WRP’s Hurricane Flats Farm streambank restoration project: in May 2013 (after planting willows) and in July 2013 (after the willows set roots and sprouted).

Job postings

Upper White River Cooperative Weed Management Association Field Work Contractor

The Upper White River Cooperative Weed Management Association is seeking candidates for a 30-day, paid field work contract to survey 30 completed, non-native invasive plant (NNIP) control sites; to control NNIP at 15 high-priority sites; and to engage 15 volunteers in NNIP identification and control activities from April through June 2017.  See the full position announcement here: UWRCWMA 2017 Contract Position. Applications are due Thursday, March 30 by 4pm.

5 Olde Fundraising Dinners Benefit WRP

The White River Partnership and 5 Olde Tavern in South Royalton invite you to enjoy a great dinner for a good cause on the last Monday of January, February, and March: January 30, February 27, and March 27. Eat dinner anytime between 5pm and 9pm and 5 Olde Tavern will donate 10% of your food purchases to the WRP to support our work in 2017.

In 2017 the WRP will work with individuals, businesses, schools, local and regional organizations, and state and federal agencies to:

Plant 3,000 native trees along the river to improve water quality and habitat;
Engage 450 teachers and students in hands-on watershed education programs;
Conserve and restore 37 acres of active floodplain to improve flood resilience;
Monitor water quality at 22 swimming holes around the watershed;
Replace 2 under-sized, stream-crossing culverts with fish-friendly, flood-resilient structures; and
Engage 700 community volunteers in monitoring, restoration, and stewardship projects.

The fundraising dinner series starts on Monday, January 30. Please RSVP to info[at]whiteriverpartnership.org if you’d like to join the WRP Board of Directors’ table at 6pm.

Gravel pit design project completed

The WRP and Ripple Natural Resources have completed a streambank restoration design project in Sharon. The WRP received funding from the state’s Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) to develop a design that would address erosion along the White River adjacent to the Schindler gravel pit in Sharon. The gravel pit was used by the towns of Pomfret and Sharon for 50+ years to provide sand and gravel for road maintenance activities.

The River Corridor Plan for the White River and tributaries in the Town of Sharon identified a heightened concern for pit capture at the site, given the proximity of the pit to the river as well as eroding river banks up-and down-stream. Due in part to this finding, the Town of Sharon stopped using the gravel pit in 2011. Flooding during Tropical Storm Irene further undermined the river banks nearest the pit, so the landowner reached out to the town and the WRP for assistance.

With ERP funding, the WRP hired Ripple Natural Resources to complete a project site survey and basemap; prepare draft engineering plans; coordinate an onsite review of the draft plans with project partners; prepare final plans based on input from project partners; and prepare a construction cost estimate and bid form. The final design includes 2 primary elements: buttressing and restoring native vegetation on the narrowest point between the gravel pit and the river, and addressing stormwater runoff from the access road into the gravel pit.

The WRP partnered with the Schindler family, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the Town of Sharon to complete the design project. The Schindler family has entered an agreement to sell the 450-acre parcel to The Nature Conservancy, who will conserve it and add it to their adjacent White River Ledges Natural Area. The WRP will work with the Schindler family, TNC, and the Town of Sharon to plan and raise funds for restoration activities at the site to improve water quality and public health and safety.

WRP receives 2 flood resilience grants

The WRP has received two grants to implement on-the-ground restoration projects that will improve flood resilience in the Upper White River valley towns of Hancock and Stockbridge.

Vermont’s Ecosystem Restoration Program takes action to reduce sediment and nutrient pollution from uncontrolled runoff into streams, rivers, ponds, wetlands, and lakes. The WRP will use ERP funds to acquire a conservation easement and to restore native vegetation along 2 river-side fields: one along the White River above Hancock village and one along the White River above Gaysville. Allowing the river to access these critical floodplains will reduce the speed and erosive power of floodwaters before they reach the more developed village centers.

Visit this link to learn more about the WRP’s river corridor protection program.