Clark Pond Riparian Buffer Restoration, East Lyme


In 2012, the Friends of Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve,  the Town of East Lyme and the  Niantic River Watershed Committee partnered with a local landscape architect to restore the riparian buffer along the west shore of Clark Pond.  The grass-covered hillside to the west of the pond was subject to runoff  and erosion from an adjacent park. Eroded materials washed downhill into Clark Pond, creating gullies and degrading both the pond bottom and the stream bed downstream of the pond. With funding from the Les Mehrhoff  Plant Biodiversity Preservation Grant awarded by the Connecticut Association of Wetland Scientists (CAWS),  the  project partners designed and installed a riparian buffer planting, comprised of native grasses, perennials and shrubs, to stabilize the slope and prevent erosion. On a rainy day in May, volunteers from the Millstone Environmental Lab Environmental Stewardship Team cleared invasive plants, set landscaping boulders and assisted with planting almost 100 shrubs and trees, including eastern red cedar, bayberry, serviceberry, silky and grey dogwood, and sweet pepperbush.  These native plants provide food and cover for wildlife, and enhance the Preserve for visitors and local wildlife alike.


An excavator is used to maneuver an eastern red cedar into place.


The excavator moves on to another spot as the cedar is set upright and backfilled.


A volunteer plants a smaller red cedar.


Volunteers plant a grouping of northern bayberries.



Clark Pond at Oswegatchie Hills Nature Preserve in East Lyme.



The hillside prior to the planting of a native grass/perennial mix and native shrubs and trees. Note the small white building at the top of the hill.


Three years after planting, the native plants have taken hold. The roof of the small white building is just visible in the upper right corner of the photo.


Erosion gully forming on the hillside above the pond.


Three years later, the vegetation has taken hold, stabilizing the hillside and preventing new gullies from forming.