A biodiversity conservation planning project, with sub-projects
Guided by the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife's manual,
"Conserving Vermont's Natural Heritage, A Guide to Community-based
Planning for the Conservation of Vermont's Fish, Wildlife, and
Biological Diversity," we are working to develop a conservation plan.
After analyzing existing information about the town's resources, the
commission is developing goals for each element of the conservation
plan. Over the next six months commission members will inventory the
elements in town and develop a conservation plan that will enhance the
long-term well being of the nature of Dummerston. The finished plan
will guide future conservation commission activities as we work with
interested landowners to implement the conservation plan and assess its
Landowners interested in participating in the inventory should contact Mary Ellen Copeland, Chair of the Conservation Commission at (802) 257-0012.
the Dummerston Biodiversity Conservation Project, the Dummerston
Conservation Commission (DCC) continues to work with the Bonnyvale
Environmental Education Center (BEEC) to develop and implement a
conservation plan and to work closely with the town planning commission on development of the Town Plan. These plans are designed to protect and enhance the ecological
vitality of Dummerston and southeastern Vermont.
The project follows guidelines described in “Vermont’s Natural Heritage: Conserving
Biological Diversity in the Green Mountain State: A Guide to
Community-Based Planning for the Conservation of Vermont’s Fish,
Wildlife, and Biological Diversity,” published by the Vermont Fish
& Wildlife Department and the Agency of Natural Resources,
(hereafter referred to as the Guide). The guide explains how to:
conserve the elements of Vermont’s natural heritage through local and regional conservation planning and land stewardship;
find information on local and regional natural heritage elements (for example, significant wildlife habitat);
establish goals and strategies for protecting and conserving these elements; and
understand the natural heritage elements within a town or community and
their regional significance to the surrounding landscape.”The plan that we develop as a result of this project will establish conservation goals for the natural heritage elements outlined in the Guide. These elements are:
The Natural Communities of Vermont are described and defined in
"Wetland, Woodland, Wildland" by Eric Sorenson and Liz Thompson. The
following is a list of natural communities that we have identified in
Community Level Elements
Natural Communities, Wetlands, Riparian Habitats, and Vernal Pools
Natural communities are the suite of plants and animals that can
predictably be found together in certain environmental conditions. A
River Cobble Shore community, for example, is likely to support similar
plants and animals wherever it occurs along the West River. You would
not visit such a community if you were looking for a scarlet tanager or
a lady's slipper. By mapping the natural communities of Dummerston, we
hope to be able to ensure that viable representatives of all community
types are included in conserved or stewarded lands. This is a "coarse
filter" approach to conservation. We hope that by conserving all types
of habitat, that most species will also be conserved. This Natural
Communities Level separates wetlands, riparian habitats, and
vernal pools from natural communities in general. They are so
important for wildlife that they need separate consideration.
Wetlands are those biologically rich zones that occur between upland
habitat and aquatic zones. Many plants and animals flourish in these
moist conditions. Other species take advantage of these lush lands.
Bobcats and bears often feed in wetlands. Many of our terrestrial
amphibians need wetlands as breeding habitat. Like the rest of the
Southern Vermont Piedmont (our geophysical region) Dummerston has
relatively few wetlands. Many of them are included on a new map
Beavers once created and maintained many wetlands in this region. They
were trapped out long before the first colonists settled here. A few
beavers have returned to the area since, but now their activies
conflict with human uses of the land so they have not proliferated. The
conservation commission hopes that one day there will be more beaver
wetlands in Dummerston, and would be happy to work with landowners to
make this possible.
Among the interesting wetlands of Dummerston is a Red Maple-Black Ash Swamp.
With the Connecticut River forming our eastern boundary and the West
River slicing through the town, Dummerston is blessed with an abundance
of riparian habitat. The plants and animals that are found in such
habitat have adapted to survive flooding and ice scouring, and in
return are rewarded with an abundance of sunlight, moisture, and, in
some places, regular deposits of rich silts. When riparian ecosystems
are intact, they reduce flooding and erosion and protect the habitat of
the aquatic species living in the rivers.
Once majestic floodplain forests of elm, sycamore and silver maple grew
along the rivers. These areas have been replaced by agricultural lands.
The following unidentified amphibian (probably a green frog) was found in an abandoned beaver pond.