The Lake Fairlee Association has been awarded two grants this spring in support of our efforts to improve the health of our lake.
The first is $8000 from the Vermont Better Backroads program to support the second of three phases of shoreline restoration along Robinson Hill Road in the southwest corner of the lake.
The second is a $5000 “Watershed Grant” from the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife to help shoreline owners restore their shoreline to a natural protective buffer.
Better Backroads Grant
This grant will continue work done last September on the lakeshore adjacent to Robinson Hill Road. Over the years the gravel road had become wider and wider, and the road grader and snowplow had removed most of the vegetation between the road and the lake. We reported on the first phase of the restoration project HERE.
This grant will continue the project. Where the bank is is “inverted:” due to erosion rocks will be added to rebuild the bank and stabilize the bank along the edge of the road.
The Lake Fairlee Association has long been encouraging lakeshore property owners to create or expand natural buffer zones along the shore. See, e.g., earlier posts HERE and HERE. This grant from the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife we will help us make some real progress in this area.
The grant requires us to identify several (three?) properties around the lake that would benefit from riparian buffer restoration. After obtaining the agreement of the landowners, we will develop a restoration plan for each, in consultation with scientists from the Vermont Water Quality Division. Grant money will purchase plants and material required, and we will solicit volunteer labor to complete the projects.
We plan to choose properties that represent each of the three towns around the lake, and ones that can visibly model the beneficial improvements that we accomplish. We will publicize these projects in the hopes that they might encourage imitation.
One of the most important techniques in developing an effective buffer is just to allow the shoreline to “go natural,” to return to its natural state. Plant roots stabilize the soil and prevent erosion, and an undisturbed layer of decaying leaves and organic matter, called “duff,” provides a most efective filter to remove pollutants from runoff. HERE is a longer and better explanation.
We are grateful to the State of Vermont for providing the funding that makes this kind of project possible.