State acquires Middlebury wetlands site
MIDDLEBURY — The organization Ducks Unlimited is restoring the wetlands of an environmentally important, 136-acre piece of property on Three Mile Bridge Road in Middlebury, and that land will now come under state ownership as part of a new federal program.
The program requires the Army Corps of Engineers to pay a fee in certain cases where its projects have an impact on Class 3 wetlands. Those fees are then used to restore and create additional wetlands, according to Jane Lazorchak, the land acquisition coordinator for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department (VFWD).
The project, known as the Three-Mile Bridge Project, is the first project done through this program in Vermont is. The site straddles Three Mile Bridge Road and is bordered by Otter Creek to the west and the Middlebury River to the south. The old farm is currently owned by Ducks Unlimited and is being restored to functioning wetlands. The site will be donated to VFWD.
“The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is interested in acquiring this property because of the significant resource values on the property and the potential to manage the property for public access for wildlife-based recreation,” reads an Aug. 23 letter to the Middlebury selectboard from Lazorchak.
“It is an excellent site for wetland restoration and once restored, it will be a great site to manage for the public for wildlife-based recreation and access to the river,” she added.
The Middlebury selectboard on Tuesday voted unanimously to support the VFWD’s acquisition of the property and its future as a wildlife management area with public access.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
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