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BRASS association works to reinforce rivers

— In an effort to restore and reinforce river banks, local agencies used willow cuttings as a an eco-friendly and cost effective method to help the Boquet River.

Members of the Boquet River Association (BRASS), Essex County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) and the Elizabethtown Fish and Game Club spent the afternoon on Sept. 6 planting willow cuttings along 250 yards of shoreline of the river on Fish and Game Club property on Route 8.

“The willow cuttings are so much better for nature than putting rocks in to stabilize the shores,” Dave Reckahm, Soil and Water conservation district manager for Essex County said.

Reckahm said former river bank reinforcement methods in the area consisted of constructing wood and stone embankments to steady the soil from erosion in events like last year’s flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene.

“The willow cuttings don’t cost anything but a little bit of time,” Reckahm said.

Time which can provide a longer and healthier life for the banks of the river Julie Martin, Executive Director of Boquet River Association, Inc. said.

“We do it so hopefully the roots will take and save the banks,” Martin said as she drove a willow cutting into the soft soil along the river.

Martin said the group has rooted willow cuttings along the river side at Footbridge park and plans to return and readminister willow cuttings later this month.

The project was sponsored in part by America’s Great Outdoors Initiative, an initiative to develop a 21st century conservation and recreation agenda.

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