Williston photos
Stream Buffer Restoration
In 2004, the Town of Williston received a large sum of state and federal grant dollars to begin a large scale restoration effort along the Allen Brook. The Allen Brook is on the Vermont 303(d) List of Impaired Waters  for both E. coli and stormwater. The entire Allen Brook watershed is located in Williston and is surrounded by both urban and agricultural land uses. Restoring this brook is of great importance to the town.


Prior to restoration, the selected project sites along Allen Brook’s riparian corridor consisted of perennial grass meadows. Once established, these meadow ecosystems can persist through centuries without change, as the root density of the meadow grasses can stifle any natural seeding. These perennial grasses do little to add structure to the stream banks and erode along with the soil during the lightest of storms. The robust grasses and the highly erosive stream banks are the result of historic stream channeling and heavy agricultural grazing and cropping operations, which have been commonplace along the Allen Brook for the past 200 years. The newly planted trees will help stabilize the soil and prevent stream bank erosion, aid in the overall health of the aquatic fish and wildlife, and naturally filter stormwater run-off as it enters the stream. Our goal is to improve the quality of the Allen Brook watershed to a point where the instream fish and bug populations are improved to a point where the brook can be removed from the state’s 303(d) List.


The first step in the project was to select the areas around the stream that had the poorest quality habitat. Once those areas were selected the town then worked with landowners to establish conservation easements on those lands so that they would be forever protected from development, including development related to agricultural and silviculture. Through this process the town conserved 37-acres of privately owned land through conservation easements. The next step was to reforest those conserved areas with native trees and shrubs. Between 2008 and 2012, approximately 4500 trees and shrubs have been planted. Now, roughly 30 % of the Allen Brook corridor is protected.

Along with the tree planting, several stream bank cuts were made, which lowered the grade of the steeply eroded banks. The purpose of the bank cuts were to increase tree survivability along the banks, reconnect the brook to it's floodplain, and decrease the likelihood of failing banks. Locally harvested live willow stakes were used along the newly cut banks to further stabilize the cuts. A full report of the restoration efforts from 2004 - 2011 can be found in the final report prepared by KAS, Inc., dated December 2011. For the full report click here.


The majority of the expenses were paid for by various federal and state grants, including: the State Tribal Assistance Grant (STAG), the Stormwater Impaired Restoration Fund (SWIRF), the state’s Clean and Clear and 319 grant programs;  and a grant awarded by the Lake Champlain Basin Program. The remaining funds came from the town and the South Ridge Homeowners Association. The overall cost of the project was $401,100, of which $60,100 was funded by the town itself.

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