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The Largest Elm Tree Restoration in the Northeast

Once the project is complete, over 7,000 trees will be planted


Although there are over 30,000 American streets bearing the name of “elm,” the Dutch elm disease felled these majestic trees with their towering canopies—77 million elms died by 1970 and no strains of the elm have been able to resist the disease. Christian Marks, a TNC ecologist, has been developing new disease tolerant strains at Green Mountain College in Poultney, VT in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service. These new strains will be planted in floodplains by TNC staff, the NorthWoods Stewardship Center of Charleston, and volunteers throughout Vermont.

The restored floodplain forests will provide public demonstrations of the importance of elms for wildlife habitat and water quality. American elms are uniquely adapted to flooding and help improve water quality by trapping sediment and absorbing excess nutrients like phosphorous. They provide habitat for eagles, osprey, otters, mink and a host of breeding songbirds.

“Over the next 3 years we will plant 7,000 American Elm trees and restore over 50 acres of floodplain forests that will improve water quality, fish and bird habitat and create a more resilient landscape for extreme weather events,” says Rose Paul, Director of Critical Lands & Conservation Science for the Nature Conservancy in Vermont. Some of the planting sites are Hubbardton River Clayplain Preserve, Willoughby Falls Wildlife Management Area, South Bay Wildlife management Area, Johnson Farm Wildlife Management Area and White River Ledges Natural Area.

These spring plantings have been generously supported with funding from the Canaday Family Charitable Trust, Keurig Green Mountain, and Plum Creek Foundation. As a major landowner of working forests in Northern Vermont, Plum Creek has a vested interested in the health of Vermont’s riparian forests because of the important role these forests play in protecting communities and in providing enhanced recreational opportunities such as improved fishing.

The Nature Conservancy in Vermont is a leader in safeguarding the natural resources of the Green Mountain State. We have conserved 300,000 acres of land, over 1,200 miles of shoreline, and manage and maintain 55 natural areas. The Vermont chapter is proud to be connecting land, water, wildlife and people for over 50 years. To learn more and support our important work, please visit: or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at



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