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Thousands of Trees Planted at Boneyard Farm for Water Quality and Biodiversity

Updated: Jun 27, 2023

On Thursday, May 11th, thousands of trees and shrubs were planted at Boneyard Farm in Fletcher, VT along a stream running through two of their hayfields.


Hannah and John Doyle run Boneyard Farm with their two young children - the farm is a 180-acre property, once farmed as a conventional dairy, that includes pasture, hayland, and mixed forest. The farm is conserved through the Vermont Land Trust.


Boneyard Farm is a diversified farm producing non-GMO pastured pork, beef, lamb, and eggs, as well as certified organic vegetables. They also make pickles, jams, and chutneys.


On a very sunny day in May, a dozen volunteers from Vermont Land Trust, USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Vermont Extension, and the local community joined Franklin County Natural Resources Conservation District and the Doyles (kiddos included!) to plant bareroot plants and livestakes along a 1,830 ft length of stream. The stream runs across their property and ends up in the Lamoille River that eventually reaches Lake Champlain - so by improving water quality through tree planting here, everyone is helping to keep the lake clean!


4.2 acres were planted with nannyberry, chokecherry, cranberry, arrowwood viburnum, silky dogwood, red osier dogwood, elderberry, paper birch, tamarack, silver maple, box elder, buttonbush, quaking aspen, speckled alder, and over a thousand shrubs willows! All of these plants are native or naturalized for Vermont climates and are great streamside plants as their roots like having "wet feet" from the flooding of the streams and high water tables around stream banks.


This planting project was funded through a grant from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation via the Natural Resources Conservation Council's Trees for Streams Program.


In addition to the planting, the Vermont Land Trust has been working with Boneyard Farm to install woody structures inside the stream aimed at slowing down water moving through the stream to allow sediment to get trapped upstream of the structures with the overall goal of building the streambed back up. The stream currently doesn't have much connection to its recently-planted floodplains because the streambed is several feet below the floodplain with very steep banks. The goal of these structures is to build the streambed back up over the span of several years to try to reconnect the stream to the floodplain during flooding events and reduce the risk that the stream will keep eroding the streambed which makes it even lower! In combination with the tree planting, these efforts seek to create clean water, enhance wildlife and bird habitat, and bring some biodiversity to a diversified farm!


Interested in learning more? Stay tuned for an event hosted by NOFA-VT at Boneyard Farm on Saturday, August 26, from 3-5pm that will cover many of these topics and more!




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