Connecticut River Watershed Council Replanting
New England Wild Flower Society has partnered with the Connecticut River Watershed Council to replant trees damaged by tornadoes, Tropical Storm Irene, and a nor'easter in 2011.
Join Nasami Farm Staff in Planting Trees in Storm Damaged Areas of Connecticut River Valley
by Cayte McDonough
During 2011, severe weather events created significant damage along the waterways in the Connecticut River Valley. In June, tornadoes tore through Springfield, MA, and surrounding areas, shredding and leveling mature trees as well as homes and other property. August brought Tropical Storm Irene which sent torrents of water and flooding that ripped out countless plants from river and waterway embankments. The final blow came in October when a nor'easter dumped over a foot of heavy, wet snow, causing rivers to again swell over their banks and adding weight that further burdened and damaged trees, many of which still had not dropped their leaves.
When the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) approached the Society’s Nasami Farm in February 2012 about joining their project to replant trees in the damaged areas, we were excited to learn more and get involved. Beyond aesthetics, there are numerous reasons for replanting these areas: tree roots and plantings help control erosion, stabilize embankments, and slow rainwater runoff; embankment plantings provide shade, keeping water cool which benefits fish; and native plants provide food and habitat for wildlife, to name a few.
If we do nothing, we leave those sites open to infiltration by non-native and invasive plants such as Japanese knotweed and Oriental bittersweet which are destructive and crowd out other plants. Instead, we can plant the types of trees and shrubs that are naturally found in those affected areas and on which native wildlife rely. The CRWC aims to plant up to 2,600 trees throughout the Connecticut River Valley. To do so, they have engaged the help of numerous partners and supporters. They also garnered public support through a recent New England Public Radio “Root For Your Radio” fundraiser (held February 24 – March 3) during which each contribution to support WFCR/WNNZ also supported the planting of a tree.
At the Society, we are doing our part in several ways. First, we are donating many native trees and shrubs that are well suited to riversides, swamps, and wet areas such as river birch (Betula nigra), red maple (Acer rubrum), swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor), black tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica), red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia), and rosy meadowsweet (Spiraea tomentosa). By supplying these plants, many of which were propagated and grown at Nasami Farm, we are helping to preserve the character of our region. Second, we have offered to consult on the sites and plant selections. And third, we have committed to coordinating a group of volunteers (we need you!) to help with planting. With your help, we can begin the healing of the scarred areas along the riverbanks. The date and location for this volunteer effort has not been finalized.
The following image was taken during a replanting event held on May 4, 2012 in Colrain, MA, the location of the above two photos. Trees were planted to start the process of reintroducing productive, healthy stock onto the barren landscape.
Click here to download a document describing the efforts put forth by many organizations and nurseries to restore the CT River Valley watershed to its pre-2011 beauty.