Colchester environmentalists plant 1,000 trees to help restore ecosystem

Local News

Environmental organizations along with volunteers, planted 1,000 trees at the former Mill Pond Dam on Indian Brook in Colchester. They hope their efforts will help restore the ecosystem.

In November 2019, the Vermont Natural Resources Council completed its work to remove Mill Pond Dam on Indian Brook in Colchester. 

“In doing that this area, which was a lake, now needs vegetation so that it can grow, so we are planting over 1,000 trees today,” Karina Dailey, ecological restoration coordinator, VNRC said. 

Dailey said removing the dam allowed them to connect 31 miles of habitat. All the way up Indian Brooke and down to Lake Champlain.

“So we restored this river from what was a lake, and impounded the lake system,” Dailey said. “We removed the barrier and are allowing all of that cold water, habitat, fish, sediment to move up and down stream.”

According to the non-profit they estimate that hundreds of dams may serve no useful purpose.  There are over 800 dams in the state of Vermont. 

Kristen Balschun is a conservation specialist for the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District. She said one goal of planting the trees was to shade the river. 

“So that we can cool the temperature of the water and make it more livable for things like fish and other aquatic organisms,” Balschunat said. 

Another benefit is improving water quality in Lake Champlain.

“The trees themselves will use carbon dioxide, so will help in their own small way with climate change mitigation,” Balschunat said. 

Also to provide habitat and food for wildlife.

“Like birds and actually like fish with berries and leaves and other nutrients that fall out of the canopy,” Balschunat said. 

Dailey said planting these trees is important for many reasons. 

“I love being outside and if I can make this small piece of earth a little bit better for the plants and animals that live here, that means the world to me,” Dailey said. 

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