Essex County Natural Resources

Conservation District

Current Projects

Heavy Duty Portable Skidder Bridge Available for Rent


PSB Photo

Portable Skidder Bridges are designed to be used for temporary stream crossings on logging operations.  Having a bridge on site is part of good general harvesting practices that protect water quality from being negatively impacted. With proper site location and proper installation Portable Skidder Bridges allow loggers to harvest timber while protecting streams from sedimentation loading from road, stream bed and bank erosion while avoiding altering the streams channel or restricting flow.

Our rental program is available to loggers thanks to funding obtained through the Vermont-wide Vermont Association of Conservation Districts’ Portable Skidder Bridge program. Our bridge was built by the students at Canaan High Schools Diversified Agriculture class and is housed and available for rent at the Dillon’s Log yard in North Stratford, NH.

Portable Skidder Bridges are easy to transport, install and remove and help loggers meet ‘Acceptable Management Practices or AMPs for timber harvesting. The rental programs available through the Conservation Districts is accessible to all scales of logging, within weight limits, for a low monthly rental fee. Partners at the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation collaborate with Conservation Districts on the construction, promotion and education of the use of portable skidder bridges, as well as provide technical assistance to loggers installing the portable skidder bridges.


Floodplain Forest/Riparian Buffering

Floodplain forests are important components of river ecosystems, and provide valuable societal and ecological benefits, including reducing flood damage, improving water quality, and providing important fish and wildlife habitat. However, many of the floodplain forests in northern New England have been lost or degraded by human activities, including altered hydrology, land use conversion, and exotic species invasions.

“Riparian buffers are the single most effective protection for our water resources in Vermont and New Hampshire. These strips of grass, shrubs, and/or trees along the banks of rivers and streams filter polluted runoff and provide a transition zone between water and human land use. Buffers are also complex ecosystems that provide habitat and improve the stream communities they shelter. Natural riparian buffers have been lost in many places over the years. Restoring them will be an important step forward for water quality, riverbank stability, wildlife, and aestheticism the Connecticut River Valley”. (CRJC, 2005).

Buffer Map


Willow Fascines are a typical bioengineering technique used for erosion control.

The District’s FFRB program began many years ago with inventories, restoration plans and building local partnerships to restore parcels. To date we have planted ~14,000 trees and shrubs on ~30 acres in the Upper Connecticut River Watershed.

This year we are working with the VT Department of Forest Parks and Recreation and the Nature Conservancy to plant floodplain buffers and to plant and monitor disease resistant American Elms on the Jonshon farm WMA in Canaan. We are also working to install a floodplain buffer on the Thurston Nature Conservancy property in Maidstone.

The program is available to land owners of both conserved and not conserved lands along the Connecticut River and many of its tributaries.  While the most immediate goal with this program is to connect existing parcels of floodplain forests along the River’s banks the FFRB also provides finanical and technical assistance with restoration plantings and  erosion control plantings to help with alleviation of property loss due to the River’s movement and natural community regeneration.

Limited funds are available for buffers along riverbank properties. If you are interested in assistance and/or have a concern due to river movements and erosion, give the District a call and see if we can help!

To learn more about the State’s silver maple-ostrich fern natural communities, a great resource to checkout is: Wetland, Woodland, Wildland; A Guide to the Natural Communities of Vermont by Elizabeth H. Thompson and Eric Sorenson.,Woodland,Wildland



Storm Water Remediation Project


Utilizing the report and data from the VTDEC Ecosystem Restoration Stormwater Infastructure Mapping Project for the Town of Brighton project ECNRCD, the Town of Brighton and our state parnters will oversee the planning and development of retorfit desings. These will focus on for four of the identified priority subwatershed drainages around Island Pond that have direct outfall to the lake and includes addressing erosion and runoff from the town park.


Precipitation runs off the town's commercial impervious surfaces rather than infiltrating into the soil which increass frequency, volume, flow rate and can result in an increase in sediment and nutrient pollutant loading to Island Pond Lake. Potential stormwater retrofit treatment structures for these areas are sediment basins, catch basin, grass swale, and a bioretension area.

IP Stormwater Map2

Northeast Kingdom Lakeshore Buffering Program


The NEKLB continues with planting on lakeshores throughout the county. Species such as the high bush cranberry are planted to not only provide a food source for wildlife (and people!) but to assist in controlling water temperatures and slowing run-off into the lakes from driveways and lawns while providing an esthetically pleasing lakeshore plantings.

NEK Lakeshore Buffering-1

Upper Connecticut River Watershed Cooperative Invasive Species Management (UCCISMA)

floodplains projects

The Upper Connecticut River Watershed Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (UCCISMA) was formed in 2010 by a core group of natural resource professionals interested in collaborating on the early detection and management of invasive species in the uppermost sub-watersheds of the Connecticut River. With an immense area in excess of 900,000 acres, the Upper Connecticut River Watershed CISMA includes nine major tributaries of the Connecticut River, representing a significant and crucial portion of the headwaters.

It is fortunate that relatively few invasive species are currently present, although certain species, such as Japanese knotweed, are pervasive. The concern for the future centers on the numerous transmission vectors (highways, railroad, the river itself) that may carry new pests into the region.  With such a light population in comparison to areas further downstream, the UCCISMA membership plays a key role in educating and engaging user groups and service organizations.

The UCCISMA is committed to unifying regional efforts with the early detection, identifying critical treatment areas, systematic management of existing invasive populations, securing resources, providing education and outreach, establishing guidelines, and assisting with public engagement and training to support citizens, service organizations, user groups, and local communities.

Please contact the District for more information and a copy of our CISMA Strategic plan.

Water Quality and Geomorphic Assessment

 For several years the District has worked collaboratively with the Agency of Natural Resources; River Management Program to complete geomorphic and habitat assessments on streams and rivers, identifying stream dynamics in relation to bank erosion, flooding and water quality problems.  

These assessments have been conducted on Essex County Rivers including Keyer and Bolter Brooks, Leach Stream and Willard Stream in Canaan, the Moose River in Concord, the main stem of the Nulhegan River. Our current programs are working to utilize this information to support landowners and municipalities to control erosion, establish forested buffers and enhance riverine habitat.

The district is working with local partners to conduct a Culvert Assessment in the Moose River Watershed to identify inadequate structures. We are also working to support towns through the VT Better Back Roads program doing road erosion inventories, identifying town priorities as well as water quality impairment proirities,budeting and BMP implementation projects.

Town of Concord - Category A Report PDF


Agricultural Conservation Programs- Go to our Agricultural Resources Page