Creates in 2016 this project aims at:
- Establish riparian zone areas around dairy and farm fields to reduce nutrient runoff into streams
- Support farm livelihoods through shelterbelt, ecobuffers, orcahrd, and windbreak tree planting
- Reduced the amount of phosphorus runoff and subsequent algae blooms in Lake Champlain
“The monitoring set up by PUR Projet allowed us to follow the survival of the trees and gave us a lot of information on the vegetative competition, which we had not realized was an obstacle to the establishment of trees on sites where thick grasses (invasive) or goldenrod (slightly allelopathic) grow. The project is designed in a holistic way, to move from a degraded site to a restored riparian buffer zone”. – Hillary Solomon, WNCPD
Phosphorus is one of the nutrient pollutants found in runoff and the greatest threat to clean water in Lake Champlain. It mainly comes from farm runoff, fertilizers from lawns, sediments from eroded river banks, wastewaters and overflows. Too much phosphorus and other nutirents like nitrogen pollution stimulates excessive growth of algae. It can turn Lake Champlain water green, and even be toxic to pets and people. Local stakeholders are very concerned and focusing attention and resources to stabilize the lake. They need to reduce phosphorous levels by 50-60%.
Through riparian zone restoration, nutrient runoff can be reduced as trees intercept and take up excess nutrients as well as stabalize stream banks preventing soil and nutrient loss into waterways. We have been working with our local partners to plant buffers of at least 15 meters between agriculture fields and cattle grazing areas to combat nutrient runoff into the lake Champlain Watershed.
The project therefore has 3 main goals:
Restore Riparian Areas:
- Plant trees in riparian buffers & windbreaks to reduce flooding and water runoff
- Provide shade on the waterways, lowering the temperatures, benefiting the trout population
- Add trees who can naturally help to absorb and reduce nitrates and sulphates in the water
Integration of tree in farms:
- Plant several species of trees adapted to the local agricultural systems to increase ecosystem services from trees to farmers: soil enrichment (reducing the needs for fertilizers), micro-climate to face droughts, shade for animals, protection to strong winds and storms…
- Diversify revenues and enhance local production: sugar maple, apples, nuts, berries…
Education and Awareness:
- Build awareness on sustainable agricultural practices and water protection
- Train farmers on the techniques and benefits of integrating trees in and around farms
Agroforestry and reforestation
Local partnerAmerican Forests
Participants33 farming families
Achievements29,852 trees planted
Established in 1875, the American Forestry Association is the oldest group in North America organized to promote forest conservation. The organization became American Forests (AF) in 1992.
AF works as a catalyst to create large-scale projects focused on forests and water conservation.
Since 1990, AF organized the plantation of 50 million trees around the world.
In the Vermont project, the plantations will be coordinated locally by the Conservation District to provide seedlings and technical assistance to the farmers.
Planted species are all native plants chosen based on soil type and the associated natural plant communities. Maple, cherry, willow, and poplar are among the planting lists but there are other native species as options.
The trees will be sourced from local nurseries. The conservation district (local partner) is co-managing a new nursery they have set up in the watershed that will be able to provide local genetic stock of native plants by 2017.
Participating farmers are small, primarily dairy farms.
The acreage size area varies, but in most cases the area to be planted is 1-3 acres (0.5-1.5 ha).
Most are conventional farms, not organic. Integrating trees will help to manage sustainably the farm activities.