Water quality project announced in Coolidge State Forest

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RUTLAND – Two significant access roads in Coolidge State Forest will soon see improvements that protect water quality, wildlife habitat, and accessibility for forest management and public recreation.

Grouse Hill South Road and Three Sisters Road are gated access roads within Coolidge State Forest in the town of Plymouth, that provide management access to blocks of interior forest.

In addition, the roadways are used for recreational purposes including snowmobiling, hiking, and cross-country skiing.

Nearby streams provide important water quality and habitat benefits.

There are three locations along Grouse Hill South Road and Three Sisters Road with culverts that have become degraded and inefficient in ensuring natural drainage and viable stream crossings.

The structural integrity of stream crossings is important to minimize potential risks pertaining to erosion and sedimentation.

The Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (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 perform road maintenance pertaining to the removal and installation of designated culverts and the construction of stone fords at specified culvert removal sites along Grouse Hill South Road and Three Sisters Road.

The project was shown in July 2019 and was awarded to Pritchard Excavation in North Clarendon.

Pritchard Excavation will be removing existing metal culverts on Grouse Hill South Road and replacing them with constructed stone fords.

An existing metal culvert on Three Sisters Road will be removed and replaced with a new culvert.

Maintenance at this site will include cleaning and shaping ditches.

The project will improve waterway functions; benefit the greater watershed; enhance access and movement corridors for fish, amphibians, aquatic insects, and wildlife; reduce the likelihood of potential hazards such as flooding and road washout; and ensure continued vegetation management and recreational access.