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West Rutland Marsh Habitat Protection - Belden Parcel Purchase

Rutland County Audubon Society (RCAS) has teamed up with the town of West Rutland to preserve and protect the West Rutland Marsh. As birders we have been dreaming of a future that would see the marshlands permanently set aside to protect the birds and all other natural plants and critters that reside there. Now we are taking steps to make the dream a reality.

RCAS aims to preserve and protect the habitat of birds. Together, with the town of West Rutland we have started a great effort to turn the marsh into a protected area for wildlife and a place for quiet recreation.

We have just recieved grant money to buy a 55-acre parcel that extends across the north-central area !! It stretches from Whipple Hollow Road to Marble Street and has the Castleton River headwaters flowing through it. The habitat contains sedges, which historically sedge wrens have used. It has been some time since these secretive relatives of marsh wrens have been sighted there. As habitat disappears so do the inhabitants. If this parcel can be purchased it will be the fourth such property preserved by the town and will be added to the 155 acres now owned by the town. Like the first three, the main source of funding is planned for a grant from The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.

This is more than a grant application though. RCAS is in this effort to preserve AND protect. Protecting the land requires a long-term plan. The plan will be accomplished by a legal instrument known as a “Management Agreement” between the town and RCAS.

This agreement calls for RCAS to:

  1. Monitor for compliance and the existence of environmental problems
  2. Study the marsh for recommendations for maintenance
  3. Propose improvements
  4. Take affirmative steps to meet the conservation needs
  5. Propose and implement educational programs

Without a doubt, there will be bumps along the way. Hopefully the dream of a permanently conserved West Rutland Marsh will carry us through. One thing is for sure. We will need all the help and support we can get. Before we are finished, we will ask for help from everyone interested.