Pomfret, VT – In celebration of Arbor Day, the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC) and partners are planting 6,250 native trees and shrubs on more than 16 acres of land along 10 different rivers in Vermont and New Hampshire. The plantings, which are all on privately owned land, will help reduce erosion, improve clean water, and increase fish and wildlife habitat in the Connecticut River watershed.

The plantings have the additional benefit of helping local businesses in these difficult times, including the Intervale Conservation Nursery, New England Wetland Plants, Northwoods Stewardship Center, and Redstart Forestry. “We always say that a healthy environment and healthy economy go hand in hand, and it couldn’t be any more true right now,” says Ron Rhodes, River Steward for CRC. “These projects will inject more than $60,000 from federal, state, foundation, and other grant sources into our local economies.”

The plantings are being done in accordance with each state’s guidance on outdoor work as well as newly adopted health and safety guidelines for the two person planting crews. Areas receiving new trees and shrubs are in Haverhill, NH on Clark Brook; in Dummerston, VT on Crosby Brook; Grafton, VT on the Saxton’s River; Springfield, VT on Carly Brook; Weathersfield, VT on the Black River; Norwich, VT on Bloody Brook; Bradford, VT on the Connecticut River; Strafford and Thetford, VT on the Ompompanoosuc River; and Barnet, VT on the Stevens River.

“Normally we rely on volunteers and school groups to help plant trees each year, but given the current Stay-at-Home orders we have not been able to do that this spring,” says Fritz Gerhardt, CRC’s Conservation Scientist. Gerhardt praised the dedication and flexibility of the local nurseries, two-person work crews, partner organizations and private landowners, who have worked together through these challenging times to ensure that these projects can move forward safely for the benefit of local rivers and communities.

Since Tropical Storm Irene ravaged the watershed in 2011, CRC has planted more than 41,250 trees and shrubs along rivers in the four-state Connecticut River basin (NH, VT, MA & CT) — with this spring’s plantings that total will jump to 47,500.  CRC collaborates with partners across four states to protect and advocate for your rivers, to educate and engage communities. CRC brings people together to prevent pollution, improve habitat, and promote enjoyment of your river and its tributary streams. Healthy rivers support healthy economies. To learn more about CRC, or to join the effort and help protect our rivers visit ctriver.org.