Caring for Allen Brook (3/25/10)

March 25, 2010

By Greg Duggan

Observer staff

Williston recently received nearly $10,000 to continue restoration efforts along the Allen Brook.

Williston was one of 22 organizations and towns to receive a grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, or LCBP, which doled out $135,778 for projects that benefit the Lake Champlain watershed.

Of that money, $9,513 will help Williston continue its efforts to create a vegetated riparian buffer along an impaired portion of the Allen Brook. The brook is included on the state’s list of impaired waterways for stormwater management and bacteria, said Eric Howe, technical coordinator for the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

Most of the money going to Williston will fund the purchase of trees, shrubs and other supplies, Howe said. Some of the money will be used to hire a consultant to review parts of the project.

“Prior to doing the actual plantings, however, the recipients will use a watershed model specific to Williston to prioritize parcels along Allen Brook for revegetation, in order to optimize their resources,” Howe wrote in an e-mail to the Observer.

Williston planner Jessica Andreoletti submitted the grant application. She could not be reached for comment prior to press deadline.

Howe explained that a review committee of experts from around the Lake Champlain Basin reviewed the grant applications. More than $275,000 was requested under the category of Aquatic Invasive Species/Pollution Prevention, and Williston was chosen to receive some of the nearly $60,000 available in the category.

“This project addresses one of the highest LCBP priorities in the LCBP Lake Champlain Management Plan, Opportunities for Action, which is to reduce phosphorus pollution to Lake Champlain,” Howe wrote in his e-mail. “It also addresses another LCBP priority, to protect and restore stream, wetland and riparian habitat.”

Howe said the plantings along the Allen Brook could begin in April 2011. Eventually, Howe wrote, the goal is for the plants to “mature, and provide shade and habitat structure for the waterway, stabilize the streambanks to prevent eroding and reduce sedimentation in the tributary, and possibly even help to restore some of the fish populations and other critters that were in this system before it was degraded.”