One of the most fundamental and cost-effective ways Vermont plans to improve water quality in Lake Champlain is through reforestation of our stream and river banks. According to the EPA, nearly 25% of all phosphorus that enters Lake Champlain originates from unstable and eroding streams and ditches. A 35 or 50 foot buffer of trees and shrubs between the top of the bank of a stream and any adjacent land use can help stabilize erosion, filter out nutrients, and provide shade for cold-water loving fish like brook trout. To compensate farmers for adopting this crucial body of conservation work, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) can compensate landowners for the loss of productive farm land through upfront incentive payments and annual rental payments. Contact us or visit agriculture.vermont.gov/crep to learn more.
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