Floodplains conserved in Hancock, Stockbridge
The White River Partnership (WRP), Vermont River Conservancy (VRC), Vermont River Management Program, and 4 private landowners have conserved 41 acres of floodplain along the White River in Hancock and Stockbridge.
The 14.2-acre Hancock project site is located just upstream of Hancock village, and just downstream of a 15.4-acre floodplain conserved in 2016. Tropical Storm Irene flood waters washed across and deposited large amounts of sediment on these hay fields, highlighting the need to protect the fields for floodplain function. In sum the 2 Hancock project sites protect active floodplain along 3,300 feet of the White River.
The 26.8-acre Stockbridge project site is located just upstream of Gaysville village and, unlike the Hancock project site, sits 30 feet above the White River. Instead of water spreading out across the fields, flooding from Tropical Storm Irene scoured 138,000 cubic yards of material from the parcel’s streambanks. This catastrophic erosion highlighted the parcel’s vulnerability and the need to protect it from future development.
The floodplain conservation projects prohibit future development and compensate the landowners for flood-related property loss. Allowing the river to reconnect to these critical floodplains will reduce the speed and erosive power of flood waters before they reach the Hancock and Gaysville villages.
The WRP received a Vermont Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP) grant to work with VRC on acquiring the permanent conservation easement and to work with a Vermont Youth Conservation Corps crew and community volunteers to restore 50-100 feet of native trees along the length of the fields.
Since 2008 the WRP has worked with the ERP, VRC, and Vermont Land Trust to complete 9 floodplain conservation projects, conserving 148.8 acres on river-front properties in Granville, Hancock, Randolph, Rochester, Royalton, and Stockbridge.
The WRP has received ERP funds to work with VRC and a private landowner to complete a 10th floodplain protection project in 2018: conserving 9 acres on the White River in Gaysville.