The Ecosystem Restoration Program, through the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, has awarded the Town of Cavendish a $94,590 grant to provide protection for water quality, enhanced flood resiliency and flood mitigation along a crucial reach of the Black River.
The Town of Cavendish experienced extensive damage along the Black River corridor during Tropical Storm Irene. Extremely large sections of Route 131 were lost and there was significant sedimentation to the river, loss of water supplies and wastewater service to both villages, and loss of riparian lands as the river created a new channel. As an example of the erosion damage, repair of Route 131 in the area which became known as the "Cavendish Chasm" took over one million cubic yards of fill material to restore that one section of highway.
The grant will allow the Town of Cavendish to acquire key parcels and development rights just upstream of the areas of greatest devastation. As a result, these areas will remain undeveloped and provide flood relief, protection of crucial infrastructure, including the water and sewer lines that connect the two villages, and provide opportunities for public use and recreational enjoyment of the river frontage. The grant also provides funds for restoration planting to occur along the buffer of the river to reduce future erosion and improve water quality and fisheries habitat.
Project Manager for the grant is Cavendish Town Manager Richard Svec who can be reached in the Cavendish Town Office at 802-226-7291. Community partners, including the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association, 802-226-7736, will be involved in additional fundraising and planting of the vulnerable riparian areas.