Cooperatove Conservation Project
COOPERATIVE CONSERVATION CASE STUDY

Connecticut River - Riverbank Restoration

Erosion Control & Habitat Enhancement Through Bank Stabilization & Riparian Buffer Installation

Location: Northeastern/Mid-Atlantic Region: New Hampshire Vermont

Project Summary: Riverbank erosion control, water quality improvement, and habitat enhancement through bank stabilization and riparian buffer installation.
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Resource Challenge

History of CRJC-Led Riverbank Restoration:

 

 

According to the CRJC Connecticut River Corridor Management Plan:

 

 

“The most prevalent problem facing riverfront landowners, not to mention people who fish and depend on water quality, is erosion of unstable riverbanks that break off and send torrents of sediment downstream.”

 

 

Examples of Key Partners

Connecticut River Joint Commissions

Federal Funds: USEPA, USDA, USDOC

Results and Accomplishments

Through their Partnership Program, CRJC has supported the local conservation districts in completing exhaustive inventories of hundreds of erosion sites along the 250 miles of Connecticut River main stem in NH and VT.

 

 

 

 

As part of AHRI, CRJC was awarded a $25,000 grant from EPA to prioritize the inventoried erosion sites for restorations.  CRJC convened technical advisors from federal and state agencies to review the erosion site inventories, and identify three priority sites that were good candidates for restoration:

 

 

Kenneth Hook Farm, Bloomfield, VT

 

Previous attempts at restoration of an upstream site had resulted in damage to the Hook Farm meadow.  Accelerated flows began to form a flood chute through the meadow.  Restoration included bank reshaping, restoration and stabilization of the toe of the slope, and planting of a substantial woody buffer.  Bank restoration resulted in protection of an excellent trout pool, good quality farmland, and archeological resources on the site.

 

 

(2001 – CRJC allocated $13k to this project from the EPA grant funds from award above)

 

 

 

Birch Meadow Farm, Fairlee, VT

 

Prime agricultural soils - a 1200-foot section of slumping riverbank, 8-10' high, had been repeatedly scoured and eroded by ice, with substantial loss of soil to the river (losing two feet of land per year).  Restoration included the installation of tree revetments anchored well into the slope, interplanted with fast-growing willows, and protected by a rock vane at the upstream end of the site to deflect current.  The landowner installed a buffer of woody vegetation to provide habitat as well as berry bushes that can provide economic benefit to the farm.

 

 

(2002 – EPA Clean Water Action Plan $5k grant awarded to CRJC for this project.)

 

 

 

 

Historic Fort at No. 4,  Charlestown, NH

 

The site presented severe erosion along 1,600 feet of riverbank.  Restoration at Fort #4 offered an excellent opportunity to educate the visiting public about riverbanks, riparian buffers, and collaborative conservation work.  Restoration included establishing a rock toe of the slope, reshaping the bank, and planting a 120-foot wide buffer of 1,300 native trees and shrubs the full length of the project.

 

 

 

 

This site was especially challenging to restore.  Not only were there Native American artifacts in the bank which could not be disturbed, but also a federally-endangered species of mussel was found on the river bottom immediately adjacent to the site.  Plans were developed and implemented with the State Historic Preservation Office and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to address these issues. NHDES and ACOE obtained the wetland permit.  The network of AHRI partners brought appropriate resources to bear on the project to overcome each obstacle that arose.

 

 

Project Funding:

 

 

            NOAA                        $87,400

 

 

            EPA                $70,000

 

 

            NRCS             $10,625

 

 

 

 

Innovation/Highlight

This site was especially challenging to restore. Not only were there Native American artifacts in the bank which could not be disturbed, but also a federally-endangered species of mussel was found on the river bottom immediately adjacent to the site. Plans were developed and implemented with the State Historic Preservation Office and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to address these issues. NHDES and ACOE obtained the wetland permit. The network of AHRI partners brought appropriate resources to bear on the project to overcome each obstacle that arose. CRJC has developed a series of very popular fact sheets on protocols and methodologies for riverbank erosion assessment and restoration. (Available on their Web Site)

Project Contact
Sharon Francis
Executive Director
Connecticut River Joint Commissions
CT River Watershed New Hampshire & Vermont

603-826-4800
SharonF@cyberportal.net






Website: www.crjc.org

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