South of Rt. 9 Integrated Research Project

The South of Rt. 9 Integrated Resource Project is a comprehensive assessment and series of improvement projects that aims to improve the ecological integrity and recreational value of the southernmost tip of the Green Mountain National Forest. Led by the US Forest Service, staff lead an informal assessment and collaboration effort, and then a formal “scoping” process that opens up to the community for recommendations and feedback on the service’s proposal. The actual assessment process involves accumulating information across the project area about resources of interest including early successional wildlife habitat, wetlands, timber, and recreation trails. The collaboration process involves public meetings and field trips to provide insight in the agency’s development of a proposed action. Proposed action revolves around habitat improvement and diversification including expanding permanent upland openings, various timber cutting treatments, trail projects, controlling invasive plant species and promoting woody debris in streams.

Project Contact: 
Diane Burbank
Project Contact Email: 
Town: 
Pownal
Readsboro
Stamford
Year Completed: 
0
Project Lifespan: 
2012-present
Keywords: 
Forest Land
Inventory
Land Management
Transportation
Water
Wetland
Wildlife
Project Accomplishments: 

The implementation of the many facets of this project will likely not occur for another year or so according to Diane Burbank of the Forest Service. It is expected that the responses to the community input during the formal scoping process and the preliminary Environmental Assessment will be completed in the summer of 2015. At this point, the proposal completion and scoping process have connected the communities in the Pownal, Stamford, and Readsboro areas with passionate staff that aim to achieve both people’s desires as well as preserving the ecological integrity of the Green Mountain National Forest.

Project Partners: 

UVM LANDS Program
Green Mountain Club
Vermont All terrain vehicle Sportsman's Association (VASA)
Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST)
Williams College Outing Club
Vermont Trail Trotters
Bennington Cycle Club
Staying Connected Initiative
Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture
Hoosic River Watershed Association
Deerfield Resilient Communities
Bennington County Conservation District
Bennington and Windham County Regional Planning Commissions
USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station
State of Vermont, Division of Forestry
State of Vermont, Department of Fish and Wildlife
Bennington County Conservation Consortium

Critical to Success: 
The Forest Service conducts a number of integrated resource projects, facilitated by direct funding, and immediate access to knowledgeable staff. Within the context of the GMNF Forest Plan, the Forest Service seeks to understand what the public thinks is most important when managing Vermont’s public lands, so the comprehensive outreach and collaboration process is started early. With a great deal of contact with the public, the Forest Service is able to build relationships with the local community and greatly increase the relevancy of their work over time.
Challenges: 
At this point in the project, the greatest challenges have revolved around acquiring information about the project area that covers approximately 62,281 acres. Recently little attention has been paid to this part of the forest by the service, and over 8,000 acres of new land has been acquired by the Forest Service in this area. Before this project, little was known about the condition of the area. Additionally, the staff at the Forest Service has fewer contacts in the area as the project area is at the very edge of its jurisdiction. This lack of familiarity on part of the Forest Service staff makes the collaboration process a more crucial stage of the project.
Reference Documents: 
Ref Doc Desc: 
Scoping Report for the Project