Balancing site use with stream health.

The Shady Rill Picnic Area along the Martins Brook in Middlesex, Vermont had  been negatively impacted by encroachment and development and showing signs of incision and aggradation. Watershed created a design that provides improved riparian buffer health, decreased compaction along the riverbank, and designated access points to the river while maintaining the recreational benefits of the site.

The Shady Rill Picnic Area affords the community an important recreational opportunity that includes stream access, picnic sites, grills, and a mix of open and wooded recreational areas. However, unrestrained access to the river and popular picnic sites along the stream bank have led to soil compaction and bank erosion. Additionally, the access drive is elevated and preventing floodplain access to the west of the road. The Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District, funded by an Ecosystem Restoration Program grant, hired Watershed to develop a restoration plan to address these issues. Following an alternatives analysis where a cost benefit analysis was completed of several options for the site, a design was selected that includes riparian buffer restoration, installation of hardened access points, removing a sediment plug blocking flood chute access, access road relocation, and removing the raised road bed and revegetating the existing road footprint. When implemented, this plan will improve water quality, stream geomorphic health, and aquatic habitat while also maintaining the site as a recreational destination for the area. It will also help to educate visitors about the need for such restoration plans through educational signage.

  • Designed a 50 feet riparian buffer restoration for more than 500 linear feet of streambank
  • Designed four (4) hardened access points to reduce streambank erosion from foot traffic