Announcements / Progress

Windham Region Watershed Collaborative Partners with WSMD and Many Others to Engage Students in Restoration of Riparian Buffer

The Saxtons River Watershed Collaborative formed in the spring of 2015 to creatively, collaboratively, and actively explore new ways of addressing flood resiliency. With funding and support from the High Meadows Fund, the 18-month project takes a watershed-scale approach to resiliency through a multi-faceted partnership that integrates conservation, education, and policy to protect public safety and infrastructure while helping to protect our water resources.

The Windham Regional Commission (WRC), which is under contract to the Watershed Management Division to support tactical basin planning efforts, has partnered with four towns (include Windham, Grafton, Rockingham, and Westminster) and the Windham County Natural Resources Conservation District (WCNRCD), Vermont River Conservancy (VRC), the Watershed Management Division, and the Windham Foundation to support the work. These entities form the core, but not the boundaries of this Collaborative. Building strong relationships with diverse local public and private entities is a core goal of this project.

Through the project’s multifaceted approach the collaborative has worked with Grafton Elementary School students and other community volunteers, including the Connecticut River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, to restore vegetation on three damaged riverfront sites through buffer plantings to help stabilize river banks and improve water quality. A great video captures the excitement of the Grafton Elementary students taking an active role in restoring the buffer along a stretch of their home waters.  That video, produced by Peregrine Productions, is available here: https://vimeo.com/171169443.

Through this project the VRC is identifying volunteer property owners in the river corridor interested in establishing conservation easements in order to protect sensitive, flood-prone land from future development.  Additionally, a public education center is being established at the Retreat Farm in Brattleboro to demonstrate river dynamics and conservation practices. The center will house a stream table for modeling stream and river behavior to school groups, road crews and members of the public.

For more information contact Marion Major with the WRC at 802-257-4547 x109 or mmajor@windhamregional.org.