Batten Kill Buffer Outreach

Mass wasting at Roaring Branch/Batten Kill Confluence

Large-scale mass-wasting at the confluence of the Roaring Branch and Batten Kill.

Vegetated streamside buffers (especially wide, forested buffers) trap sediment and reduce channel erosion. They capture contaminants like agricultural run-off and lawn chemicals. They help keep water temperatures cool and provide a source of food for aquatic insects and other organisms.

In the fall of 2014, we coordinated the planting and fencing off of 0.9 acres of riparian buffer along one mile of the Batten Kill. Students from the Southwestern Vermont Career Development Center’s Forestry program, and a crew from the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps lent a hand. The Battenkill Watershed Alliance, and the Vermont Association of Conservation District’s Trees for Streams program provided essential support. This reach of river was highlighted as one of the highest priority sites for buffer plantings in the 2007 “River Corridor Planning on the Batten Kill, Vermont” by Field Geology Services.

Some years ago, BCCD's two year-long Batten Kill buffer outreach program brought the benefits of vegetated buffers to the attention of every landowner along the Kill and its larger tributaries. We mailed our Better Buffers for the Batten Kill brochure to those riparian landowners, sharing the latest research on what makes a good buffer and suggesting how riparian landowners can manage their own properties for a healthier river. The brochure also solicited applications for low-cost or no-cost plant materials and free (but limited) planting assistance. That planting service was offered the following spring, when BCCD hired a crew of youth from Arlington Memorial High School to respond to requests for assistance. The field work was preceded by a month-long "Batten Kill module" for the students, during which presentations were given them by adult professionals, including a US Senate aide, a wildlife biologist, a town planner, a cartographer, an angling writer, an expert on historic bridges such as that on the Kill near Tory Lane, and others. Nearly 3,000 native trees and shrubs were given away or planted on more than a mile of river.