The weather couldn’t have been better for a day of tree planting. With the sun shining and the temperature in the mid-60s a group of ECO AmeriCorps members, the Windham County Natural Resources Conservation District, Rockingham Conservation Commission, Saxtons River Permaculture Project, Bellows Falls Union High School, the Southeastern Vermont Watershed Alliance and local volunteers planted 435 trees along the Saxton’s River in Rockingham.
Before this area was grass and shrubs it had three houses and a trailer on it.During the summer of 2011 when Tropical Storm Irene came through all of the structures were washed away. The water came up over the road, and it came up fast. At one point the water was measured at 21 feet above its normal level. All of the people who lived there made it out.
After the flood, the area sat empty, except for the occasional household items, a TV remote, a dog bowl. This spot along the river stayed like this for two years before the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved the removal of the items left behind.
The towns of Rockingham and Bellows Falls wanted to clean up the area and add more trees and shrubs to secure the bank. Through the Trees for Streams program the Windham County NRCD was awarded a grant to plant over 400 trees. After the trees were planted and covered the volunteers added mulch to give the trees some added food and protection while they get established.