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Photo: New York State DEC
Photo: New York State DEC

Trees for Tributaries aids flood recovery

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Close to 100 people braved the rain late last week to plant trees in communities along the AuSable River devastated by Tropical Storm Irene.

The Lake Champlain Basin "Trees for Tributaries" program, organized by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, aims to restore and protect stream corridors connected to Lake Champlain following historic flooding Aug. 28. Chris Morris reports.

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Chris Morris
Tri-Lakes Correspondent

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Rob Davies, a forester with the state conservation department, says inclement weather is actually good for planting trees.

"Cold and wet—that is what's perfect for planting trees," he said. "That's why the fall is such a good time to plant trees: They tend to have a high survival rate."

According to Davies, planting trees along the river helps restore shorelines and tributaries. It also protects the surrounding habitat in the event of heavy rain and flooding.

Volunteers from the Adirondacks and beyond helped DEC forest rangers, environmental conservation officers and wildlife staff plant trees in Keene, Keene Valley, Jay and Lake Placid.

Kerry Merchant, of Ohio, is a student at Gordon College in Wenham, Mass. She and her classmates from the school's La Vida Center for Outdoor Education and Leadership traveled to the Adirondacks as part of their course curriculum.

"We really love this area and so we wanted to try and give back to the area by planting trees and doing some service work," Merchant said. "This was our fall break, so instead of just relaxing, we came up here to work."

Younger students also laced up their work boots to lend a hand. A group of homeschoolers, led by instructor Tara Mulvey of Wilmington, helped plant trees as a way to help out neighbors and friends hurt by Irene.

Sara Wolf, one of Mulvey's students, said she was happy to do something to potentially help in the event of future flooding.

"I wish it had been a nicer day to plant trees," she quipped. "But I feel like I'm doing something to prevent more damage like what happened in August. I feel good about it."

The trees were shipped to the Adirondacks from the State Tree Nursery in Saratoga Springs. Nursery Manager David Lee said the planting stock is grown within New York to provide trees and shrubs that are already adapted to the region's climate.

DEC Forest Ranger Charlie Platt said most of the trees planted Friday were balsam, tamarack and red maple.

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