RUPERT >> The Bennington County Conservation District (BCCD) has been awarded a Vermont Department of Environmental Ecosystem Restoration Program grant in the amount of $18,600 to restore an active gully adjacent to Mill Brook. The gully, which drains about 41 acres of forest, pasture, and residential lands, is about 400 feet long and contributes significant quantities of sediment to and is destabilizing the channel of Mill Brook, threatening properties and infrastructure downstream. The gully was documented by Fitzgerald Environmental Associates in their November 2015 Stormwater Plan for the Town of Rupert. The Plan describes stormwater issues and problem areas within the Town, and provides Town officials and employees with options to reduce stormwater runoff impacts and protect Town infrastructure. Other towns in Bennington County, including Sandgate and Sunderland, are also working on stormwater plans.
The project will consist of installing at least eight V-shaped log structures and stone check dams and an additional eight to ten straight log check dams or stone check dams perpendicular to the steep slope cut by the gully. A stone-filled splash area will limit erosion on the downstream end of the gully. The Town of Rupert has agreed to transport timbers and stone to the work site, and a crew from the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps will install the check dams. Upon completion of construction, the work site will be sown with native grasses and perennials adapted to the setting and soil type.
The project will further efforts to reduce sediment recommended in stream assessments and river corridor plans for Rupert going back to 2008. Those efforts were coordinated by a planning team that has included town officials and employees, state and federal fisheries biologists, state river scientists, and representatives of organizations such as our local Trout Unlimited chapter, the Bennington County Regional Planning Commission, the Batten Kill Watershed Alliance, and BCCD. The proposed project follows upon three 2014-15 projects implemented to reduce sedimentation on Mill Brook.