In 1997, Henry and Raymonde Choiniere conserved their dairy farm along the Rock River in Highgate with VLT. The land has 242 acres of excellent agricultural soils, plus 70 acres of woodland. These days their son, Guy, runs an organic, grass-fed dairy with his son, Matt. The Choinieres ship milk to Organic Valley, and also raise chicken, pork, and veal, which they sell at their on-farm store.

Guy recently worked with VLT to protect more than a mile and a half of the Rock River, which runs through his farm. “Our family has worked very hard in building solid and vegetated river banks on our farm, so it only makes sense to conserve our part of the Rock River with a river corridor easement,” said Guy. “This will ensure the integrity of the river.”

With the new conservation measures, the river will never be artificially constrained or dredged and will be allowed to meander and change course. This reduces erosion hazards and flood risks, and improves water quality. Land within 50 feet of the river is now required to remain naturally vegetated, which further improves water quality and habitat. Steep slopes with narrow terraces surround the river. There are also pockets of wetlands that were further protected by limiting agriculture and timber harvesting.

Funding provided in part by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. This project was made possible in part with funding provided by The Nature Conservancy under a grant from Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.