About 50 volunteers are expected to replant seedlings next week on the restored bank of the Sandy River along Whittier Road in Farmington after a large portion of the first crop of plants died over the winter.

About 23 percent of the new plants on the embankment have survived since the project was completed in September 2013, but a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant that the town received for the project stipulates the plant survival rate by year two is supposed to be 70 percent, according to Town Manager Richard Davis.

The embankment was rebuilt in the fall of 2013, three years after a 1,500-square-foot chunk of earth fell into the river during a storm. The damaged bank threatened the structure of Whittier Road and prompted Farmington officials to reduce traffic to the far lane of the road.

The project, which cost a total of $452,072, was paid for in part by a grant from FEMA, with the town paying 25 percent and FEMA paying 75 percent.

The volunteer replanting effort is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. each morning from Monday to Friday next week or until the project is completed.

Davis said the town is hoping for about 50 volunteers, including students from the Foster Career and Technical Education Center and members of the town’s conservation commission. If the town gets 50 volunteers, Davis said, he doesn’t anticipate the project taking the full five days.

There are 350 seedlings of a few varieties that will be planted, consisting of either replacements for seedlings that didn’t survive or trees that didn’t get planted in the first place.

“It’s a big project,” he said.

He said the new seedlings cost a total of $546, but the use of volunteer labor will make it an inexpensive project.

Peter Tracy, chairman of the conservation commission, is coordinating the work, Davis said.

Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252

[email protected]


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