March 11, Troy & Westfield — Land along 3.4 miles of the Missisquoi River, which flows through farmland in Westfield and Troy owned by beef farmer Anthony (Tony) Brault, has been conserved for clean water. 
 
Brault worked with the Vermont Land Trust, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and The Nature Conservancy to establish a 79-acre ‘river corridor’ area. Within this area, the Missisquoi is free to meander and change course naturally, and no structures can be built along the banks. 
 
Funding for this river protection was provided by the Department of Environmental Conservation and by The Nature Conservancy under a grant from Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. 
 
Almost 90 miles long, the Missisquoi travels through northern Vermont and southern Quebec before flowing into Missisquoi Bay in Lake Champlain. 
 
“The Missisquoi is very active on Tony’s farm,” explained Tyler Miller of the Vermont Land Trust, “meaning it moves a lot and cuts into land, causing erosion. With our changing climate, the river is also dealing with more rain than before.” 
 
As part of the conservation, land within 50 feet of the water must be kept naturally vegetated with native shrubs and trees, to help keep the water cleaner and reduce damage from future floods by holding water and helping to slow it down. To this end, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps planted 925 trees along the river and its tributaries last fall. 
 
Thirty-five acres of wetlands were also protected. “Wetlands are important in river protection because they slow water, catch debris, and retain soils,” added Miller.
 
“The Nature Conservancy is thrilled to partner on this effort to benefit both people and nature,” said Shayne Jaquith, water restoration manager for The Nature Conservancy. “As the intensity and frequency of flood events increases in the face of climate change, we’re working to protect our rivers and floodplains for the services that they provide our communities, from improving water quality to reducing flood risks.”
 
Brault runs a beef farm and the popular Brault’s Meat Market in Troy. He operates part of his business on 219 acres in Troy and Westfield that were conserved with the Vermont Land Trust in 1995, and the rest on nearby fields in Troy.