River Monitoring ~ Restoration Takes Hold

Rugg Brook before restoration. Photo by Mike Winslow

LCC along with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has recently completed our third year of monitoring at a stream restoration site on Rugg Brook in St. Albans. Rugg Brook is an impaired waterway that flows into St. Albans Bay. An LCC assessment of the stream in 2005 revealed a section with steep eroding stream banks. ANR then partnered with landowners Andy and Nicole LaPierre, the town of St. Albans and LCC to flatten the banks and allow flood waters to dissipate over the surrounding lands rather than continuing to erode them and carry sediment to St. Albans Bay. LCC has remained active in assessing the success of the project.  

Over the last three years the stream has settled into a well-defined channel, vegetation has re-established at the site, and planted willows are thriving. This is in stark contrast to the first year following construction when there was extensive disruption. Vegetation had not yet established and the stream thrashed about in its floodplain, cutting off meanders and creating new channels. Sometimes conditions need to get worse before they can improve. Monitoring will continue for two more years.