Kearney River Corridor Easement

Name of Project:     Kearney River Corridor Easement   image001                         

Location:      Westfield VT

River:             Missisquoi River      

Type of Project:      River Corridor Easement

Public Access:        No

Date Completed:    January  2014

Size:   17 acres

Water Frontage:      4,230’

Landowner: Ed and Margaret Kearney

Funding Partners:  VT Agency of Natural Resources Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program

Property Description: 

Until August of 2011, the Kearney’s grew corn on their land along the Missisquoi River.  The rich agricultural soils had been formed by river flooding over thousands of years, and growing crops here was part of their farm operation.  But Tropical Storm Irene changed the river’s course, and the Kearney’s ability to farm this land.  Floods from Irene cut a new channel for the Missisquoi River, depositing sand and making more than half of the land inaccessible.

As this parcel transitions from agriculture to active river corridor, the movements of the Missisquoi river across the land can be seen.  Sediment is deposited in the old river channel where water now hardly flows, and a steeper gradient new channel is established with good access to its floodplain.  The banks along the new river channel will be planted with native vegetation to increase the stability of the banks, reduce erosion, and support a healthy Missisquoi.

The River Corridor Easement allows the Kearney’s to take this land out of production, while offsetting the cost of losing the agricultural income from this part of the farm.  Since fighting the river’s movements would be a costly and losing battle, the River Corridor Easement supports the river establishing a natural course, which in turn creates a more stable river system up and down stream of this land.  

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