If you are interested in volunteering, there are a number of ways to get involved.
Become a Team Leader
Team Leaders work at the local level. We rely on them to help identify projects, mentor new volunteers, and promote events and workshops.
The Stream Team Leader Program is a chance for volunteers to assume greater responsibility in a variety of stormwater mitigation projects. Team Leaders help identify projects, organize events, mentor other volunteers, advertise workshops, and more. Being a Team Leader means that you are willing to play a lead role in the on the ground operations of the Chittenden County Stream Team. Previous experience in natural resources management is a plus but not a requirement. A strong passion for the environment goes a long way.
CCST staff assist Team Leaders by:
We have a robust stream monitoring program that has relied on volunteers to take water samples for the last two years. The data collected helps to guide our project selection process. Volunteers are needed on a yearly basis during the summer months to collect water samples and gather data. Volunteers are recruited in the late spring and trained before testing begins in early summer.
Stream monitoring is an important component of stormwater mitigation. Consistent data related to water quality and quantity allows stormwater managers to better assess the state of our waters and develop solutions that will have a lasting positive effect. Volunteers are typically used to collect samples at a variety of locations along a stream or within a watershed. These samples are sent to a lab and analyzed. On occasion, volunteers may also gather visual data as to the condition of a stream. Data collected in this way may include presence or absence of riparian buffers, streambank stability, and presence of litter or trash.
Read more about our Stream Monitoring program.
Rain Gardens are one of the ways that individuals, businesses, and municipalities can mitigate stormwater. They are a landscaped depression designed to retain and treat stormwater. A number of rain gardens have been built for this purpose. The Adopt-a-Rain Garden Program is designed to keep these gardens functional and attractive.
What is a rain garden?
A rain garden is a bowl-shaped garden designed to capture and absorb rainfall and snowmelt (collectively referred to as “stormwater”). When stormwater runs off impervious surfaces such as parking lots, roofs, compacted soils, and roads, it accumulates pollutants and delivers them to a nearby lake or river either directly or via a storm drain. Stormwater pollutants typically include sediment; nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus); bacteria from animal waste; and oil, grease, and heavy metals from cars. Stormwater also causes increased flooding, which erodes stream banks resulting in additional problems. However, if captured by a rain garden, stormwater soaks into the ground recharges the groundwater at a rate 30% greater than that of a typical lawn. Ultimately, if we all work together to create landscape features that absorb the stormwater, we can restore and help preserve the waterways that make Vermont so beautiful.
You can do your part to keep our rivers healthy by helping out during a scheduled river cleanup.
According to American Rivers, "millions of tons of trash end up in our nation's rivers and streams every year from litter on the ground and illegal dump sites." This trash poses serious health risks to humans and widlife. It's also an eyesore to anyone hoping to enjoy the scenic beauty of the Vermont landscape.
CCST hosts river cleanups as a way of ensuring that our rivers and streams stay healthy and clean. In either the spring, summer, or fall, CCST chooses priority reaches throughout Chittenden County and utilizes volunteers to pick up trash and other debris. Most people are amazed at how much trash is collected. At our cleanup of Sunderland Brook in 2011, volunteers pulled out over 1.16 tons of trash.
Learn more about our clean-up efforts here.
Restore a Stream
Typically in the Spring and Summer, CCST and other partners will restore rivers and streams through the planting of riparian buffers and stabilization of eroding banks. This process is fairly labor intensive and volunteers are always needed.
Riparian buffers are an important component of a healthy river system. The primary function of buffers is to physically protect a river from outside influences and disturbances. Buffers can provide stormwater management by filtering pollutants and act as a right-of-way during floods, sustaining the integrity of stream ecosystems and habitats. In many locations across Vermont, buffers are either sparse or nonexistent. This is especially true in many of Vermont's urban environments.
To maintain river health and function, CCST works with partners to establish or enhance buffers in locations where they are minimal or do not exist at all. This process is fairly labor intensive and volunteers typically assist by helping with the physical planting of tress and shrubs. This work is usually completed in the spring and fall when plant mortality is likely to be low.
Learn more about helping us restore a stream.