Unused Bridge Removed from Dead Creek in Swanton
The Franklin County Natural Resources Conservation District recently completed the removal of a small, unused bridge over the Dead Creek in Swanton, VT for improved water quality and stream health.
The bridge, downstream of the Fairfield Swamp Wildlife Management Area, was a relic of past agricultural use and had fallen into disarray over the years. Two landowners now own each side of the bridge and both supported the bridge’s removal in order to restore stream health by removing the bridge that was encroaching on the stream channel. By acting as an encroachment, the stream’s dynamic equilibrium state was disrupted which had a negative influence on the flow of water, sediment, and debris.
Jeff Corey Excavating was selected by Franklin County NRCD to remove the bridge and restore the floodplain, completed in September 2023 after a long, wet summer. The concrete abutments, steel I-beams, and stacked stones were removed from the stream and disposed of properly. Then the fill that had been historically placed in the floodplain for access roads to move equipment across the bridge were excavated. Approximately 305 cubic yards of fill was mounded on the same property higher up, outside of the floodplain and river corridor, and covered with a tarp in an attempt to kill the poison parsnip weed seeds known to be present on this site. The landowner hopes to spread this material in the future on his hayfields once the seeds are nonviable.
Terry Wilson of Vermont Mapping & Survey Co., LLC then surveyed the site for as-built conditions following the earth work. In order to provide full benefits to the project, the Franklin County NRCD team went back to the project site in October to plant bareroot trees sourced from the Intervale Conservation Nursery in Burlington, VT as well as to harvest livestakes of willow, dogwood, and alder from the landowner’s nearby properties to install at the project site. Due to the rockiness of the restored floodplain, livestakes were easier to install than bareroot plants and should be successful in the wet floodplain soils.
This project was funded by the Vermont Natural Resources Conservation Council through funds from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Department of Environmental Conservation Clean Water Program.