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Programs and Services

CLick Here for our ORleans COunty nrcd brochure

Professional Services

  • Water Quality Sampling
  • Assistance with Organic Farm Certification
  • Assistance with VTAAFM medium and large farm general permits
  • Farm employee water quality trainings
  • Nutrient Management Plan Updates
  • Soil and manure sampling and pre-side dress soil nitrate test sampling
  • Map making
  • Landscaping for wildlife consultations
  • Grant writing and administrative support for land owners and municipalities
  • Invasive species education and eradication assistance

ConservaTION Farm Teams

The Orleans County NRCD works with 3-5 farms per year in our Farm Teams Program. The Programs mission of the Farm Teams program is to support farmers’ decision making and to coordinate agricultural services, while increasing farm viability and adoption
of on-farm conservation practices.
Farm Teams are designed for farmers who work with multiple service providers (i.e. NRCS, UVM Extension, grazing specialists, VT Agency of Agriculture, the VT Land Trust, business planners, nutrient management planners, NOFA, seed/fertilizer consultants).

Download our program factsheet

Sign up with our intake form 

Learn more about the district facilitator role here.


Conservation Tree and Shrub Sale

Every year for the past 40 years, the Orleans County Conservation District holds an Annual Plant Sale.  We offer a variety of bare-root plants for sale, including fruit trees, berry bushes, native trees, and a selection of native wetland plants and shrubs.  Planting on your property can provide many benefits: tasty snacks for you, beauty to your land (even in the wetter spots!), shade, erosion control on lakeshores and riverbanks, habitat for wildlife and so much more!

 You can buy a GIFT CARD for our 2024 ANNUAL PLANT SALE. 

Head over to our Plant Sale Website to order your trees and shrubs today. Supplies are limited and stock does sell out. 

Plant sale pick up at the Orleans County Fair Grounds in Barton on Saturday May 4th from 9:00-12:00

Lake restoration

Lake Watershed Action Plans

What is a Lake Watershed Action Plan? An LWAP is an assessment and planning tool that identifies the greatest stressors to water quality, wildlife habitat, and the overall health of the lake ecosystem. The process evaluates the shoreland, tributaries, drainage ditches, wetlands, hydrologically connected roads, and working landscapes to create a priority list of issues and projects. The result is a planning guide that prioritizes restoration and protection actions for the watershed.

Lake Watershed Action Plans Data Libraries are digital libraries with sources of relevant information such as shoreland parcels, lidar topography, land use mapping, water quality data, relevant GIS layers, and town infrastructure information.

Click here for the Caspian Lake Watershed Action Plan page

Click here for the Shadow Lake Watershed Action Plan page

Click here for the Willoughby Lake Watershed Action Plan page

Click here for the Echo-Seymour Lake Watershed Action Plan page

Trees for Streams

This program focuses on improving water quality by helping landowners with riverside property establish riparian buffers.

What are Riparian Buffers?Riparian buffers are vegetated areas adjacent to rivers and streams that integral to healthy river ecosystems.

Trees for Streams brochure

We provide grants funding and technical assistance for landowners who want to stabilize river banks, filter nutrients from runoff and increase the connectivity of wildlife habitat with riparian buffers. This includes site assessment, project planning and planting trees to establish the buffer. Contact the District if you are interested in riparian buffers on your property!

Check out the Riparian Land Programs and Practices Resources Guide to learn about all the available resources! 

Conservation Road Signs

The Orleans County Natural Resource Conservation District collaborated with local farmers to post new roadside signs highlighting conservation practices that can otherwise be very hard to see.

Road sign order form

Water Quality Monitoring

Utilizing three state funding sources, we have three total nitrogen and total phosphorus water sampling programs.

Tile Drain Study

Funding Source: Sub Contract with the Franklin County Conservation District.

The goal of this sampling program to is inform Vermont regulations and recommendations for best management practices related to tile drainage in agricultural fields. Sampling started summer of 2018 and is happening all around the state. Orleans County NRCD staff samples Total Nitrogen and Total Phosphorus at two farms at four sites total, every two weeks and two rain events annually.

Memphremagog Tributary Monitoring

Funding Source: NRCC Basin Planning

This sampling program is done to monitor the phosphorus loading from the four main drainages to lake Memphremagog. This monitoring program has been ongoing since 2005 and is used to evaluate changes in phosphorus loading in relation to reduction targets in the Lake Memphremagog TMDL OCNRCD staff take 13 high flow event samples annually. A high flow is when Black River stream gauge is above 500cfs. Regular monthly sampling at all the same four sites is done by the VTDEC Basin Planner.

Agricultural BMP Monitoring 

Funding Source: VAAFM Clean Water Program and LaRosa Organizational Grant and LaRosa Analytical Grant

Orleans County NRCD Staff sample eight dates from April to October with at least two rain events. The goal of this sampling program is to evaluate pre and post BMP water sampling results to document the phosphorus and nitrogen nutrient pollution sources and assessing the effectiveness of water quality remediation practices on agricultural landbases. Seven of the nine farms we are evaluating are RCPP program cooperators. 

Assistance for Farmers

We work with the farmers to control soil erosion and protect water quality, identify opportunities for conservation around the farm, and help interpret the state’s Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) and farm certification. This includes our Conservation Coordination Services where we assist farmers in assessing their natural resources, prioritizing and facilitating a team approach to accessing a range to resources to feasablity best support the farmers goals.

Are you interested in creating your own Nutrient Management Plan (NMP)?

We have grant funding to assist with NMP development and UVM class registration fees and NMP updating services.

Click here for more information

  • Land Treatment Planning Farm assessments to identify vulnerable areas on your farm and fields.
  • Soil and manure sampling
  • Support in UVM class and assistance inputting data into GoCrop Software
  • 2 years of follow-up to help with adoption of your NMP.

Benefits of a having a NMP:

  • Save money -reduce fertilizer costs & increase productivity
  • Gain a better understanding of the local ecosystems
  • Helps your farm comply with the Vermont’s RAPs
  • Creates a more positive public image for your farm by showing your efforts to improve water quality

Farm Water Protection Field and Infrastructure Program

We offer assistance and grant funding to install best management practices (BMPs) through site assessment, prioritization, facilitating access to funding, project management and technical assistance for projects such as:

  • Stormwater diversions
  • Waste storage improvements
  • Heavy use areas, walkways and barnyards
  • Lined waterways, grade stabilization, grass waterways
  • No Till and Cover Cropping
  • Hay and pasture renovation
  • Fencing along waterways and more!

Check our Memphremagog Regional Conservation Partnership Program Factsheet and Early Cover Crop Program factsheet

Municipal Road Erosion Inventories

We work with the town officials and town road foreman, VTrans district manager, NVDA and VTDEC watershed coordinator to conduct a road erosion inventories on all town hydrologically connected roads to meet the new Municipal Road General Permit requirements and we provide project development services to the town on priorities road segements that are based on the inventory results and the foreman’s maintenance and project area priorities.

Contact the District if you are interested!

We have conservation rental equipment!

Check it out!