The Resilient Right-of-Ways project leads towns in a collaborative and integrated approach to advance forests, individual trees, and other vegetation in roadside environments as part of a larger system of green stormwater infrastructure. The project, funded by the US Forest Service, extends to both urban and rural communities.
In urban environments, UCF staff is collaborating with a team including staff from the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, the Green Infrastructure Collaborative, and UVM, to increase municipal capacity to support green stormwater infrastructure. The team is tailoring their support to ten priority Lake Champlain basin communities based on local need; examples include municipal bylaw review, training for Development Review Board members, training for Public Works employees, and the creation of visualizations to highlight the aesthetic impact of green infrastructure elements. By understanding where green infrastructure could be introduced or strengthened, towns stand to reduce stormwater runoff and associated costs of “grey” infrastructure while beautifying their downtowns and increasing public benefits that come from shade trees.
In rural roadside environments, UCF staff will work with 10 towns in the Lake Champlain Basin to highlight the utility of vegetation to stabilize banks, reduce erosion originating in the right-of-way, and filter stormwater flowing from roads and neighboring uplands. Towns will collaborate with UCF to review roadside vegetation assessments to create a vegetation action plan that reflects both the present and possible future of roadside ecosystems. These plans will consider the capacity of a community to undertake roadside vegetation maintenance and planning, plans for emergency preparedness with respect to storm damage and the effects of tree pests and diseases, and the overarching conditions that keep their roads safe.