When Tropical Storm Irene blasted through our region a few years ago, it altered the path of Mink Brook here in the preserve, most visibly just above the log bridge. The stream abandoned one channel and the force of the current moved north, creating new erosion that we have monitored ever since. In 2014, we installed a “bio-engineering” project to restore stream-side habitat and slow erosion. In April, our volunteers cut stakes of live willow at Birch Meadow Farm in Fairlee (a riverfront farm conserved by the Upper Valley Land Trust) and kept them dormant in a snowbank on the north side of a Lyme barn. Weeks later, when conditions were right, the stakes were driven into the eroded streambank. They are now beginning to sprout! Their roots and shoots should help knit the bank together, protecting water quality by settling sediment, reducing erosion, and shading the water to keep it cool, and providing habitat for perching birds and cover for brook trout – naturally.