Land trusts team up with Kaiser Farm and Department of Environmental Conservation
Stowe, VT – (RealEstateRama) — The 49-acre Kaiser Farm is nestled into Stowe’s picturesque Nebraska Valley. Christine Kaiser has farmed there for decades, producing eggs, pork, chicken, and goat milk in the valley’s meadows. Christine has managed her grassland and barnyards with an eye towards water quality because Miller Brook passes through the land. She is now working with Vermont Land Trust (VLT), Stowe Land Trust (SLT), and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to conserve the farm and make sure the stream is permanently protected.
Miller Brook tumbles along the base of a forested hillside behind Kaiser Farm. It flows into the Little River, and ultimately into the Winooski River and Lake Champlain. Protecting the brook and the land around it will help with water quality and limit the impacts of flooding downstream. The DEC awarded a grant to the land trusts for the protection of this stretch of the river.
The grant will fund the creation of a river corridor, a designated zone within which the river can naturally flood and change course. Allowing these processes to happen disperses a river’s energy, and will help to lessen the impacts of flooding and erosion on communities downstream.
“The Kaiser Farm is situated on an extremely sensitive section of Miller’s Brook that is prone to changing its location over time,” said Gretchen Alexander of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. “Protecting the River Corridor will ensure that the Brook always has the opportunity to change and adapt and achieve its most stable state where erosion is minimized. This has positive benefits to water quality and the overall health of the Brook’s ecosystem.”
As part of the project, all the land within 50 feet of Miller Brook will remain forested. The trees and shrubs will provide wildlife habitat, reduce pollutants and excess nutrients from the water, and their roots will reduce erosion by holding soil in place.
“The many important resources on the Kaiser Farm, including productive farmland and forestland bordering Mt. Mansfield State Forest, all come together at Miller Brook,” said Bob Heiser of the Vermont Land Trust. “It is great to know that the brook will have the space to move naturally and that its water quality will be protected.”
Kaiser Farm’s fertile agricultural soils will also be permanently protected. Christine is now looking to retire, and would like to sell the farmland to someone who will keep the fields productive. The two land trusts are helping to sell the property to Andrew and Annie Paradee, a young farming couple who live nearby and who have been in search of land of their own. Through VLT’s Farmland Access Program, the Paradees will be able to purchase the Kaiser farmland at its lower, agricultural value because the land is conserved. They plan provide food to the Stowe community.
Stowe Land Trust raised more than $372,000 from foundations, private donors and the community to place permanent conservation restrictions on the land. The partners have also received grant funding from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board. “The response to this project has been amazing. The community is saying loud and clear that farming AND water quality in Stowe is important” said Caitrin Maloney of the Stowe Land Trust.