The Otter Creek District’s tree planting effort works with Trees for Streams, CREP and the District Tree Sale. With the result that in the past 20 years an estimated 300,400 trees have been planted on 1,000 acres of stream bank in Addison County which represents –93 stream and river miles buffered. Partners included USDA’s Farm service Agency (FSA) and the State of Vermont, US F&W Partners for Wildlife, Fish America, Vermont Association of Conservation Districts (VACD), and the Nature Conservancy. USDA’s Farm service Agency (FSA) and the State of Vermont continue to support and manage a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) to protect the 490-square mile Lake Champlain and its tributaries. CREP uses federal and state resources to safeguard environmentally sensitive land through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). Producers enrolled in CREP receive rental for lands they remove agricultural production and plant native grasses, trees, and other vegetation to reduce sediment runoff and plant native grasses, trees and other vegetation to reduce sediment runoff and improve the quality of water and wildlife habitat. The goals of the Vermont CREP are to reduce phosphorus loading to Lake Champlain by 48.9 tons per year and enhance wildlife and aquatic habitat. Trees for Streams works with landowners to establish riparian buffers on land that is not eligible for federal funding through CREP.
In May of each year Otter Creek District sponsors its annual seedling program to area residents and cooperators. This program generates funds for other conservation programs and is for the convenience of area residents. Possible uses for the seedlings are windbreaks, Christmas tree, wildlife habitat enhancement and erosion control. A planting guide for Bareroot Stock is given to each customer along with a book on Fertilizing Trees and Shrub, and Pruning out Disease to Keep Trees Healthy. Annually 75 individuals in eight towns purchase on average 3000 seedlings.
Pamela Stefanek collects soil and manure samples and completes Tier 1s through RCPP for eight farms annually, conducts outreach for increased program participation, and supports grant funded project implementation. In 2017 outreach will be focused in the Lewis Creek and Lake Champlain Direct watersheds.