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Water Wins: Protecting Rivers With Our Partners

May 21, 2024

Partners – from landowners to land trusts, from conservation commissions to state river scientists – are essential to each and every place we protect. We collaborate on strategies, exchange expertise, and make perpetual commitments to uphold the conservation values of each project long into the future. Often this is one organization acquiring land and Vermont River Conservancy holding a conservation easement, providing essential checks and balances to ensure each site is protected, forever. Here are a few examples of how these partnerships play out on riverlands.

Group reviews a map before embarking on a site tour.

Woodbury Mountain Wilderness Preserve, Woodbury

Northeast Wilderness Trust has acquired over 6,000 acres in Central Vermont – a forever-wild preserve that will soon be the site of Vermont River Conservancy’s largest conservation easement. This landscape-scale approach will ensure that the forest and wetlands will be allowed to grow old over time, restoring habitat for pine marten and Bicknell’s thrush, and letting beavers bring back extensive wetlands. People will be welcome to explore on foot, and depending on where you roam around this preserve you may see wetlands, old forests, or a dramatic waterfall. The preserve will filter water, store carbon, and provide niche breeding habitats for rare species – forever.

Maidstone Bends Preserve, Brunswick

The Upper Connecticut River is a winding ribbon through a patchwork of cornfields, hayfields, and wetlands. These areas flood regularly, a natural process that deposits sediments and slows down floodwaters, protecting water quality and reducing flood impacts for rural Brunswick and communities downstream. One family here decided that farming in the floodplain had become unsustainable, and they decided to protect the natural beauty and benefits of their land. The Nature Conservancy and Vermont River Conservancy have partnered to protect and restore this natural floodplain. Two meandering miles of the upper Connecticut River in Brunswick, VT, with a band of tall silver maples arching over the water from the banks, will grow, year by year, into a wider floodplain forest, brooks, and wetlands. 

Old Oaks Headwaters Preserve, Marlboro

In partnership with Brattleboro-based Green Mountain Conservancy, we’re working to conserve a headwater forest that connects the former Marlboro College campus, now Potash Hill, with the Marlboro village center. Generations of locals and college students have wandered the trails at this site, passing under towering oaks and past beaver wetlands. Soon, this unique forest will be permanently protected, securing public access for years to come and helping protect water quality in the Green River Watershed.

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