The Big Picture

Think of all we value in the landscapes that enfold us here in southwestern Vermont:

  • Our streams, rivers and lakes - the clean waters they transport, the opportunities for recreation they provide, the organisms (trout! loons!) that live in them.
  • The forests that cloak our Green Mountains and Taconics - the natural areas and wildlife habitats they represent, the clean air and dark skies they protect, the timber and other resources they offer.
  • Our working farms - the fresh and healthy products of all kinds they make available to us, the agricultural economy they sustain, the scenic vistas they preserve.

The Bennington County Conservation District works to conserve them all, for all of us.


H. 586, a wide-ranging water quality bill, is still under discussion in the Vermont legislature. Its provisions would directly affect livestock farmers, developers, home owners, the forest products industry, and municipalities. For example, all livestock would be excluded by fencing from entering State waters. Small farms would receive closer scrutiny. Stormwater permits would be required for land disturbances on one-half acre or more (up from one acre). Something like an impervious surfaces tax would be levied on residences. And municipalities would be required to adopt tougher road and bridge standards. While the bill is likely to be amended before it moves forward, residents can read the original bill here. Or voters may wish to discuss the bill with state representatives. Their contact information is available here.

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At a recent board meeting, the Bennington County Conservation District welcomed Joe Nolan to the Board of Supervisors. Joe is a logger and raises beef, as well as helping his father John on their family farm in West Arlington. Also at the meeting, Ken Leach of Rupert was elected Chair, Jim Henderson of Sandgate was elected Vice-chair, and Alan Calfee of Dorset was elected Treasurer. Debbie Johnson of Shaftsbury also serves on the board. Natural Resources Conservation Service soil conservationist Carla Fenner advises the organization.

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Join our Book Club

Members of the Bennington County Sustainable Forest Consortium steering committee invite you to join our "book club." Every other month, one of us will pull from a hat the title of an article or book suggested by a member of the group. We'll all read that item and discuss it at the next meeting. We invite you to read what we're reading, and to comment via an e-mail or on the Bennington County Conservation District Facebook page.

Anything from the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study. See:

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Learn how to Be a Batten Kill River Steward.
Hot off the presses is help in caring for your river. (more)