Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Vermont

The Partners Program in Vermont is administered from the Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Resources Office in Essex Junction, Vermont. The program began in 1992 with a focus on restoration of wetlands, woodlands, and riparian areas that provide breeding habitat and critical migratory stopovers for migratory birds and benefit fish populations, including landlocked and sea-run Atlantic salmon a focal species for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Projects are focused in areas where conservation efforts will provide the greatest benefit for federal trust species, which include: migratory birds, anadromous fish, and Federally-listed threatened and endangered species.


Conservation Strategies
Partnerships to benefit Federal trust resources are a primary emphasis of the Partners Program. Combining the goals of private landowners and other conservation partners with those of the Service has allowed the Partners Program to leverage the value of Service funds at better than a 3:1 ratio.

Riparian Habitat -
Agricultural land clearing and loss of floodplain forests have had a detrimental impact on water quality and degrade habitat for wildlife that are dependant on these areas for breeding and as dispersal corridors. The Partners Program restores riparian habitat in partnership with other Federal and State agencies, municipalities, and non-governmental organizations by fencing out livestock and stabilizing streambank habitat using bioengineering techniques and native plantings.


Wetlands
The Partners Program restores degraded wetlands by blocking old drainage ditches with low-level berms and restoring original wetland micro-topography lost due to past agricultural drainage and land-leveling practices. Completed projects often result in a mosaic of permanent and seasonal wetlands with a variety of vegetation types providing habitat for numerous wetland dependent species.


In-stream Habitat
The Partners Program works comprehensively on in-stream fisheries restoration projects using multiple techniques which include lowering incised floodplains, the installation of large woody material for in-stream cover and bank stability and the restoration of proper pool/riffle ratios using a geomorphic approach to river channel restoration. These techniques are used to reduce the amount of fine sediment that enters the river which degrades in-stream habitat. River restoration projects are combined with riparian revegetation practices to secure multiple benefits to fish and wildlife.


Invasive Species
Wetland and upland habitats of the Lake Champlain and Connecticut River valleys have been adversely affected by the introduction of several invasive species. Purple loosestrife and water chestnut invade wetland areas and out compete native plants often resulting in monotypic stands with adverse consequences to native fish and wildlife.

Working with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, the Partners Program has assisted with the propagation and release of insects that feed exclusively on purple loosestrife which has resulted in significant reductions of loosestrife abundance in targeted wetlands. In partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the Partners Program has assisted with efforts to remove water chestnut and European frogbit infestations from the Lake Champlain wetlands of New York and Vermont. This involves the arduous task of hand-pulling the plants before they set seed. With assistance of many dedicated volunteers, water chestnut and European frogbit has been significantly reduced in many areas.


Fish Passage
The fragmentation of stream habitat by dams and transportation infrastructure has become a major concern for the aquatic resources of Vermont. Working in partnership with the interagency Vermont Dam Task Force, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, and local conservation groups, the Partners Program is assessing and evaluating numerous barriers to fish passage in the White River Watershed and the Lake Champlain Watershed. Barrier removal combined with in-stream habitat restoration will restore access to historical spawning areas and allow for needed seasonal migration of fish to upstream and downstream areas. Several projects have been completed and many more are in the design and fund-raising stage.

Download the program factsheet


Contact Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Vermont


Contact Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program in Vermont

Christopher Smith
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
11 Lincoln Street
Door 7
Essex Junction, Vermont  05452
Phone: 802-872-0629 (x20)
Fax: 802-872-9704


 

Service Area

Statewide Program in:
  • Vermont