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Stream Wise Into the Fall and Winter: Tips and Resources

We are starting to wrap up Stream Wise assessments this fall, and have been so amazed by all the enthusiastic engagement we have received this season! We’ve had the opportunity to visit with many land and stream stewards, conduct Stream Wise assessments, distribute Stream Wise Awards, and provide numerous resources and recommendations to improve stream health, riparian habitat, and water quality.

As the growing season winds down, here are some things to consider regarding your stream.

Leaf and Yard Debris:

Where possible, let fallen leaves remain where they are. In forested areas, these leaves will decompose over time, feeding trees and fungi, and providing habitat for animals over the winter. This duff layer is a feature we look for during our streamwise assessments.

Fallen and decomposing leaves in streams can be an important source of nutrients in the water, but dumping large piles of leaves in small streams can result in excessive nutrients and oxygen depletion in the water. Refrain from dumping large piles of leaves from driveways or lawns into or directly adjacent to your stream. As an alternative, you can use these leaves as mulch in gardens or future planting areas, as part of sheet mulching, spread them out in forested areas on your property, or bag them up for composting at a facility.

Planning for the Next Growing Season:

The fall and winter are a great time to start planning for the next growing season. Thinking about the health of our streams and waterways, you may start to identify and map out areas to add trees and expand vegetative stream buffers. Take some time to look at nursery catalogs, or sign up for our mailing list for updates on our bare root tree sale so you can choose site-appropriate species to add your landscape.

Consider planning a path to your stream to limit impact to buffer vegetation.
Look for where you can expand a vegetated buffer around your stream. Consider a combination of native trees, shrubs, and perennial species.

Once we get into winter and you find yourself inside on a cold day, take some time to explore some of the numerous resources available through the Stream Wise website and partner websites. Some of our favorite resources include:

While some of these resources focus on lake shores, many of the concepts apply to stream stewardship.

Schedule your Stream Wise Assessment for Next Year:

While there may be limited opportunity for the team at Franklin County NRCD to conduct a Stream Wise assessment at your property this year, we would love to start planning for next year! Visit the Stream Wise page on our website or reach out to us at 802-528-4159 or to schedule your Stream Wise assessment.

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FCNRCD is hiring an Agricultural Programs Specialist

Job Title: Agricultural Programs Specialist               Supervisor: District Manager Job Classification: Non-exempt                              Salary: $22-25/hour Effective Date: 1/19/2024     


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