Well, first of all, until it started raining again in the last ten minutes, the Batten Kill water level was starting to come down.... But here are some project updates, and we will just have to hope that water levels will come down enough to do the in stream work at some point this season....
New York -- Batten Kill:
This year we will be working on restoration of trout habitat and improvements to river dynamics in the third week in July. This is when our expert Carl Schwartz of US Fish & Wildlife Service can come this year. We will be working in the river upstream of where Murray Hollow Brook comes in and then a ways downstream where the river is close to Rte 313. This is the section between the Hwy 61 bridge and the Eagleville Covered Bridge. There is a lot of bank erosion and considerable over widening and shallow sections along here, due to the past installation of the "deflectors" or "pool diggers", which were intended to make pools and protect banks but pretty much caused these problems instead.
Last season's new project work area was along the right bank downstream of the Rte 313 bridge near Hickory Hill Road. At the end of the meadow Mr. Schwartz put in a kind of bunker with trees for cover and shelter and also created a flood plain shelf. I will be interested to see how all the work has fared through the recent high water. Anecdotal reports indicate that the structures installed in 2010 at the State Line Park on 313 and downstream continue to function well, and that the fishing has been good in there.
New York -- White Creek:
The Alliance and its partners are not pursuing any stream projects for White Creek in NY at this time given the extensive flood mitigation and bridge protection projects planned in White Creek for Salem Village and Salem Town. We want to see how those projects work out before contemplating any trout habitat restoration work there.
Vermont -- White Creek:
The Alliance and its partners the Bennington County Regional Commission and the Bennington County Conservation District worked with VT river management specialists on a corridor plan for White Creek and Mill Brook in Rupert. There have been problems with flooding, erosion, excess sediment, property and infrastructure damage, and trout habitat degradation. The corridor plan study by Fitzgerald Environmental Associates resulted in the development of a number of potential projects. We are applying for funding for several of them, including:
* Removal of a berm of sediment excavated from the White Creek channel after Irene.
* Stabilization of large bank failures on Mill Brook.
* Mitigation of erosion and incision in Mill Brook up towards the top of Merck Mountain.
* Analysis and inventory of stormwater management issues in the watershed.
All we have done at this stage is apply for the funding, but it is great progress for Rupert and for Salem downstream in NY that we have these projects developed. If all are eventually implemented, there might really be an improvement in terms of both stream dynamics and trout habitat that could also help landowners and the Towns.
Vermont -- Roaring Branch in Sunderland:
The Alliance and its partners the Green Mountain National Forest and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department are moving forward with plans for stream stabilization and trout habitat restoration in two sections of the Branch along Kelly Stand Road. We had a third site but it is still too unstable with adjustments from Irene to work in. The project will involve the installation of lines and arrays of large boulders to provide grade control for channel stabilization and pool formation for trout.
Thanks to the Orvis Company for contributing to this project.
There is a separate project larger road project far upstream in GMNF rebuilding the washed out bridges and road.
Vermont -- Dufresne Dam:
It looks as if the state of Vermont will be removing the dam that has formed Dufresne Pond on the East Branch of the Batten Kill in Manchester. The cost of repairs was prohibitive, and the pond level has been reduced gradually. After the actual removal this August the Alliance may be involved in trout habitat improvements and tree planting.
The dam removal means the loss of a pond that was greatly valued by neighbors. The state has been stocking and promoting other nearby ponds as substitutes. But it is important that the stream habitat and the general area be made as good as it can be, for wildlife, for recreation, and as a landscape for neighbors.
To my knowledge this leaves the dam in Manchester at the intersection of Rte 7A and Rtes 11/30 and the dam down in Greenwich, NY, as the remaining dams in the main channels of the Batten Kill.
Vermont -- Batten Kill:
Because of the Roaring Branch project we will not be working in the Batten Kill in Vermont this year, but we hope to pick it up again next year.
Please contact me with any questions.
Cynthia Browning, BKWA Executive Director