Programs and 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 Field Days
An agricultural literacy event hosted by local farmers for local 3rd-6th grade students.
Our Annual Conservation Field Day on Orleans County farms proves to be a great highlight for students and teachers alike. Students in 4th through 6th grade from Orleans County experience first-hand what life is like on a dairy farm in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Stations, manned by professionals and experts in their respective fields, are situated throughout the barns and pastures of the farm and challenge students to think about natural resource concerns and local agriculture in their regional environment.
Generally the theme and focus of the field day is on agricultural literacy. Despite their residency in Northern Vermont, many students have never set foot on a farm before. This event provides stations for students to explore topics such as dairy farming with barn and pasture tours, animal husbandry, food security, experiential agricultural erosion and soil conservation including the use of a rain simulator, nutrition and ruminant anatomy from a local veterinarian. Not only does this allow students to reconnect with the agricultural heritage of their local community, it provides an exceptional opportunity to increase awareness of their connection to the environment.
Every year, 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!
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.
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!
Conservation Road Signs
Recently, 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.
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.
Funding Source: Basin Planning, Memph RCPP, 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.
- 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 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
- Fencing along waterways and more!
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!