SLT Acquires Second River Corridor Easement

Stowe Land Trust announced today that it completed its second River Corridor Easement on Thursday, December 21, 2012.  The property, owned by Creative Ventures, LLC, consists of 12.5 acres of agricultural fields and river corridor in Stowe’s Lower Village.  The agricultural land is farmed by the Pike family.  The protected property also includes an important section of VAST snowmobile trail, and protects 750 feet of river frontage and riparian area on both sides of the Little River. 

This conservation project was funded by the VT Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Ecosystem Restoration Program.  Administered by the Agency of Natural Resources River Management Division, the program is intended to provide funding for the purchase of river channel management rights within the corridors of sensitive and erosive streams.  The purpose of the program is to reduce conflict with land uses adjacent to unstable streams and maximize the public benefits associated with stable streams and floodplains.

Historic development patterns did not consider the effects of buildings and infrastructure within a river’s floodplain.  Several major flooding events in our history have proven that river’s need to be allowed to meander and have access to their floodplain.  Mike Kline, DEC’s River Management Specialist explains that “a river’s energy stays within the channel and becomes more powerful if it doesn’t have access to its traditional floodplain, and this can lead to more devastating floods, wiping out roads and scouring away prime agricultural soils.” There are some locations however, where no conflicting land uses exist and the river can have access to its floodplain.  These locations were identified by DEC as critical to helping the river reach a state of equilibrium.  “We identified the parcels just south of the River Rd. bridge in Stowe as a prime location for the Little River to dissipate some of its energy,” said Mike Kline. 

This conservation easement represents the second river corridor easement completed by SLT.  The first, completed in 2008, was also the first stand alone river corridor easement to be completed in Vermont.  That property, consisting of 10 acres and owned by four different landowners is located to the north of this most recent conservation project.  Visit www.stowelandtrust.org to learn more about this and other lands conserved by SLT.