September 12, 208
Waterbury, Vt. -- The Cotton Brook Road that winds its way through Waterbury, Bolton and Stowe in Mt. Mansfield State Forest is a popular multi-season route for dog walkers, runners, mountain bikers, cross country skiers and snowmobilers. It’s also the only vehicular access for forest management on a major block of the forest. A small stream runs beneath a portion of this road, and in recent years, a large 65-year old concrete culvert began crumbling into the pristine brook running through it. This stream feeds the larger Cotton Brook in the Winooski River Basin which would have received a burst of sediment if the road crossing failed suddenly.
“We have known this stream crossing was deteriorating,” said Ginger Anderson, District Forest Manager in the Central Vermont office of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR). “Plans had been drawn up by Grenier Engineering to replace the culvert, but we needed funding assistance to implement them.”
FPR applied for a grant under the Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP), administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). With advice from the River Management Engineer and the Watershed Planner in DEC, the district was awarded funds to replace the old culvert with a more resilient structure.
The project bid went to Stowe-based Dale E. Percy, Inc. who contracted to remove the old structure and set in place a new metal culvert. Thanks to low water levels and an efficient crew, the culvert was replaced in less than two weeks with little disruption to the many people who recreate here and minimal disturbance to the stream. The project came in under estimated costs and used local labor for both the engineering and construction phases: a win for water quality and the community.