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“They don’t call it the Wild Branch for nothing” says Joan McCrumb, the landowner who worked with Vermont River Conservancy on this easement.
Over centuries, engineers and developers building roads and houses along the river have attempted to straighten and control the Wild Branch — efforts that ultimately make the river run faster, eroding banks and causing more damage in the next big flood. This was clearly seen here in 1995 and 2011, when the Wild Branch flooded, moving water and sediment, and shifting how it moves through its natural corridor – the entire Wild Branch river valley.
After severe floods, people can be quick to offer solutions: replace culverts, build up streambanks, replace bridges, repair roads. But these are just temporary solutions until the next big flood.
Instead, Joan McCrumb worked with Vermont River Conservancy to protect her land. This easement makes sure her land will never be developed, and makes sure the river will always be able to shift and move across the land. This is good for the river and for wildlife, and is also important to people. Just upstream of where the Wild Branch meets the Lamoille River, it’s also upstream of multiple bridges and roads. By protecting her land with a river corridor easement, Joan McCrumb is also helping keep people, bridges, homes, and roads safe damage in the next big flood.
In addition to the conservation easement, Vermont River Conservancy partnered with Trees for Streams and the Lamoille County Natural Resource Conservation District to plant native trees and shrubs along the river’s bank, helping keep soil from eroding into the water, and providing rich habitat for area wildlife. Now the Wild Branch might just be a little more wild, and a little less damaging.
This project made possible thanks to the support and partnership of: