Habitat Restoration

The brown trout population in the Batten Kill crashed in the late nineties. Research into several possible stressors concluded in 2005 with the finding: "Of all the possible causes for the brown trout population decline investigated by the Batten Kill Study Team, the most compelling finding is that of there being inadequate fish cover in the river." (Batten Kill Trout Management Plan, 2007-12, by Kenneth Cox, Fisheries Biologist, dated January 8, 2006.)

Batten Kill Habitat Restoration

Habitat Restoration on the Batten Kill
Photo: USFS GMNF

Partners took the study seriously, and began to return large woody debris (the “fish cover” referenced in the study) to the river. Over the next eleven years, the habitat restoration project team (the Batten Kill Watershed Alliance, BCCD, Southwestern Vermont Trout Unlimited, The Orvis Company, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service Partners for Fish & Wildlife, USFS Green Mountain National Forest, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife, and many landowners and volunteers) installed a variety of fish-friendly in-stream practices at fourteen locations. In recent years, the team’s emphasis has been instead on planting buffers – future large woody debris. BCCD’s latest project, planted in June 2019, partnered with the Batten Kill Watershed Alliance and the Comprehensive Invasive Species Management Association for the Batten Kill to plant a one-hundred foot buffer along the river in Manchester.

In November 2018, the then fisheries biologist for the Batten Kill, Lee Simard, presented a history of habitat restoration to the Batten Kill Watershed Alliance at its annual meeting. You can view that presentation here.