New streambank restoration program helps homeowners

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New streambank restoration program helps homeowners

Tue, 07/19/2011 - 6:36am -- tim

The flood waters from the record breaking rainfall this spring have receded, but the damage is still visible for many homeowners that live near Lake Champlain and the many streams that feed into the lake. 
Vermont Organics Nursery’s Streambank Restoration Program is helping to restore and stabilize areas affected by flooding. Damaged areas are repaired, and land is stabilized against further damage and soil erosion using eco-friendly materials. 
BFA St. Albans students Zach Devoid and Isaac Devoid use organic burlap bags to repair a damaged streambank in St. Albans.
Streambank Restoration includes: altering bank slopes to provide proper drainage, installation of energy dissipation devices constructed from field stones, and the use of organic burlap bags to help control erosion. Plants that help stabilize the soil and prevent it from becoming prone to soil erosion are grown at the Vermont Organics Nursery in St. Albans and placed throughout damaged banks.     
The Streambank Restoration Program began this year with a small stream at the Vermont Organics Nursery. The stream feeds into Rugg Brook in St. Albans (an impaired watershed). After heavy rain this spring, the streambank was eroded and needed a 200 foot restoration of the banks and the channel. With an effective restoration in place, pollution impact to Rugg Brook is reduced, and water quality improved. 
A crew of Vermont Organics Nursery employees transformed the area with a variety of plantings including: aster, black eyed Susan, goldenrod, hairy alumroot, heartleaf foamflower, lobelia, ox-eye daisy, phlox, violet, and more.  Wetland species were planted in the water course and more upland species were planted on the banks. 
Plants that existed on the south side included: black cherry, boxelder, dogwood, elm, and poplar.  A fairly robust understory existed as well on the south side including: blue eyed grass, goldenrod, heartleaf foamflower, New England aster, rushes, sedges, sensitive fern, and St. Johnswort.  
By establishing an effective root network, soil erosion will be reduced. Native plants do an efficient job of nutrient uptake as surface water intercepts the root system.  Utilizing good native herbaceous plants and a diverse army of species provides the best management practices for restoration, and an effective root network for soil retention.  
Leadership was provided by UVM Environmental Engineering student and VOR intern Ryan Trudel and VOR’s Master Plant & Soil Scientist Sinclair Adam.  BFA St. Albans High School interns Isaac and Zach Devoid assisted with the project. 
Streambank Restoration. Vermont Organics Nursery  802-528-8512  email info@vermontorganics.com.