Connecticut River Restoration Project Gets $14,000 Grant

Woodstock — The Connecticut River Watershed Council recently received a grant for $14,148 from Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources to support a river restoration project at Billings Farm in Woodstock.

The Ecosystem Restoration Program grant will fund the purchase and delivery of 1,300 trees, project design and staff time, Ron Rhodes, a river steward with the watershed council, said in an email.

Streamside vegetation is “a top water quality priority in the Ottauquechee River,” the watershed council said in a recent news release.

“It is clearly understood that the lack of vegetation along our rivers is a major cause of water quality and habitat problems,” said Marie Caduto, watershed coordinator for ANR. “The simplest, most efficient and most cost effective way to improve and protect water quality is to plant more trees and shrubs along our rivers.”

The project, set for this spring, includes the removal of invasive plants that threaten the farm’s ecological and economic health. The plants, including bush honeysuckle, glossy buckthorn, and oriental bittersweet, can crowd out native species, suppress tree growth and potentially spread to nearby properties. Donations for the removal work are being sought via the watershed council’s “crowd-funding” website, which features conservation projects designed to improve water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, erosion control, and public access.

“Our goal is $1,000, and we have raised $350 so far,” Rhodes said. “The more we raise, the more we can do on invasives.”

A number of other organizations are working on the project with the watershed council, ANR and Billings Farm.

— Staff report