About 1,600 trees were planted at 13 sites along the banks of the East Branch of the AuSable river on Sunday, April 29 as part of the Lake Champlain Basin Trees for Tributaries program.
The Trees for Tributaries program is a partnership between the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service. The goals of the program are to restore and protect the stream corridors that connect to Lake Champlain. The native trees and shrubs were grown at the DEC's State Tree Nursery in Saratoga Springs in Saratoga County.
"What we're trying to do is partner to recover and stabilize the riparian zones in the corridors here, so it's the first line of defense for flooding," DEC Region 5 Director Bob Stegemann said. "Plus, it's a beautiful thing for your community."
Lake Placid News
State Adirondack Park Agency Executive Director Terry Martino and state Department of Environmental Conservation Region 5 Director Bob Stegemann plant a tree Sunday in AuSable Forks as part of the Trees for Tributaries program.
Stegemann was one of numerous officials to partake in a tree planting ceremony on the edge of the river in downtown AuSable Forks. State Adirondack Park Agency Executive Director Terry Martino, Essex Country Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Dave Reckahn, Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas, Keene Supervisor Bill Ferebee and AuSable River Association Executive Director Corrie Miller were all present.
The AuSable River Association and Essex County Soil and Water Conservation District organized the event and the government groups all participated. Many volunteers lent a hand to plant the trees in AuSable Forks, Jay and Keene.
"We're here to plant trees in places that were affected by the flooding," Miller said. "The hope is - not today, not tomorrow, not next year - but at some point they'll be able to protect the water quality ... and be able to protect people's property."
Miller said "it's just an everybody wins type of situation."
"In the wake of Tropical Storms Irene and Lee, homeowners and communities across the state witnessed the devastation that swollen rivers and streams can pose to people and property," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a press release. "Our Trees for Tributaries program provides trees and shrubs free to municipalities and private landowners to restore damaged banks of streams, tributaries and rivers damaged by the tropical storms and subsequent flooding."
The large tree planting was held two days after and tied to national Arbor Day. It was the second tree planting tied to both Arbor Day and to restoring areas damaged by Hurricanes Irene and Lee. The first event was held on Friday, April 27, along the shores of Lake George on Assembly Point in the Town of Queensbury, Warren County. The Assembly Point Water Quality Committee planted more than 500 trees.