RUPERT - The Mill Brook Ecosystem Restoration Program is a project aimed at stabilizing two large failing banks on Mill Brook along Route 153 just upstream of Hebron Road. The approaches taken will include 1) planting of trees, bushes, and grass all over the banks, 2) installation of log structures at the base of the banks to anchor them and catch sediment, and 3) improving flood plain access.

The goal of the project is to lessen the excess sedimentation that enters Mill Brook during floods. Material falls from the upper part of the bank and is then carried away by high water - and the erosive force of the water is greatest along these banks at the outside of the curving streambed. This excess sediment can cause difficulties downstream through deposits in gravel bars that block culverts or bridges, or cause channel migrations. Also, all such sediment carries with it excess nutrients that compromise water quality and affect habitat for trout and other wildlife.

The total cost of the project will be $13,535, which will be covered by the VT ERP grant. This includes the cost of all structure materials and trees for planting, along with a small excavator plus operator, and a week's worth of Vermont Youth Conservation Corps time.

This project emerged from the White Creek/Mill Brook corridor planning process that was also supported by the Vermont Ecosystem Restoration Program. Thanks also to the participation of the Town of Rupert, the Bennington County Conservation District, the Bennington County Regional Com mission and river scientist Shannon Pytlik of VT Agency of Natural Resources. Perhaps most importantly, thanks to Eugene and Jean Ceglowski for allowing the work to take place on their property.