Pomfret, Vermont – On Monday April 22 (Earth Day), the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC), the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department (VFWD), and other project partners will begin planting 1,931 native trees and shrubs along Charles Brown Brook in Norwich, Vermont at the site of the former Norwich Reservoir Dam. CRC volunteers and students from Marion Cross school in Norwich will help a planting crew from NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston, VT over three days of planting.
Species being planted include sugar and red maples, yellow birch, red oak, American elm, white pine, shrub willows, red osier dogwoods, and nannyberries (purchased from the Intervale Nursery in Burlington, VT). Funding for the trees is being provided by a State of Vermont Ecosystem Restoration Program grant, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and One Tree Planted.
“A Vermont Fish & Wildlife biologist brought this project to us back in 2016,” said CRC River Steward Ron Rhodes, who serves as the project manager. “Dam removals and the post-removal restoration work is a minimum 3 year process, but well worth the wait,” said Rhodes.
“We are happy to support this project,” said Bret Ladago, VFWD Fisheries Biologist. “Charles Brown Brook is one of the best trout streams in this part of the state, and removing the dam is critical to restore access to up to 12.1 miles of stream once other barriers are addressed. The next step is replanting the stream so that trees can provide shade to keep the stream cool. Eventually leaves, branches and logs will fall in the stream and provide food and habitat for the bugs and fish that make this an exceptional place.”
The Norwich Fire & Water District owns the land around the former dam, which was removed in 2018 in order to improve water quality and passage by fish, turtles, and other aquatic organisms. Additional project partners include the Norwich Conservation Commission, Greater Upper Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited, and various Foundations who provided funding. In addition to the tree planting, a historic kiosk will be installed near the Bill Ballard Trail to preserve the history and story of the dam’s purpose over the years.
CRC is a membership based nonprofit working to protect the Connecticut River from source to sea through on-the-ground projects, public education and advocacy. To learn more or to support your rivers visit www.ctriver.org.