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Conserving the River Corridor in West Fairlee

UVLT has purchased a conservation easement on 63 acres of land along the Ompompanoosuc River in West Fairlee owned by Douglas Dresser. The acquisition was funded through a grant from Vermont’s Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP),  to conserve two properties with  1.75 miles of river frontage. With this acquisition, UVLT has now completed the first of these two projects.

IMG_0017Vermont’s ERP program was established to encourage landowners in high priority river reaches to convey “river corridor easements” to non-profit organizations, such as UVLT, in order to further enhance the river’s natural patterns of flow and flooding, thus contributing positively to the rest of the natural river system. By allowing rivers to seek a state of equilibrium along meaningful stretches, the economic costs from floods to public infrastructure, like roads and bridges, can be mitigated. The conservation easements on these properties will allow for that equilibrium, while advancing UVLT’s strategic focus on water resource protection and serving the goals of the state and local community. The Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund (MEF) provided additional funding for the project.

IMG_0056The conservation easement on the Dresser property provides a buffer along the mile long stretch of frontage within the property. It also protects over 44 acres of forestland and almost 17 acres of open fields that are primarily utilized for hay production.  The upland forested area of the Protected Property is located within a large (13,800± acre), highly ranked forested Habitat Block as identified by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.  The conservation easement protects the biological diversity, native flora and fauna, and habitat conducive to a variety of wildlife on the Protected Property and within a larger landscape of natural habitats that are thus far unfragmented by roads, development, or agriculture.

We’re thrilled to join with Doug Dresser, and our two funding partners, to protect and restore lands and waters in the Ompompanoosuc River watershed!