Green Mountain National Forest. Credit: Chris M. Morris

Project Name:
Riparian Tree Planting

Green Mountain National Forest, Vt.

Key Activities:

  • Planting 4,000 trees across 41 acres
  • Reforesting an ecosystem damaged by hurricane-caused flooding
  • Restoring habitat for wildlife
  • Engaging local volunteers and partners in forest stewardship

Project Description:
American Forests and the U.S. Forest Service, with the help of local volunteers, are reforesting 41 acres of Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest with more than 4,000 trees to restore an area damaged by flooding caused by Hurricane Irene.

Why This Project:
In August 2011, Hurricane Irene, which had just been downgraded to a tropical storm, hit Vermont, causing historic-level flooding throughout the state. The White River in Green Mountain National Forest saw much of its riparian vegetation severely damaged or completely destroyed by the flood waters.

Much of the destroyed vegetation was actually planted by community and volunteer groups, who had given their time to improve and restore habitat for the Atlantic salmon in the White River. This project is reenlisting those volunteers to reforest the White River watershed, restoring habitat for the aquatic species and improving the watershed’s health.

Why the White River:
In recent years in the upper White River, efforts have been underway to re-introduce Atlantic salmon and improve habitat for eastern brook trout. In addition, the river is home to rainbow and brown trout. In 2012, juvenile Atlantic salmon were spotted in the White River, indicating a spawning population remains despite the flooding and creating an added impetus for restoring vegetation along the river.

The new trees are providing necessary shade to lower the river’s water temperatures to improve living conditions for the fish. The trees also provide a source of food, and their debris is useful in building habitat. In addition, they are helping prevent erosion and are filtering the area’s water.

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