- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 2, 2016

VERNON, Vt. (AP) - The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is working to preserve a rare plant community known as a “black gum swamp” in the Vernon Town Forest.

The state is in the process of declaring the 28-acre area a class 1 wetland, the most highly protected class of wetlands.

Windham County Forester Bill Guenther tells Vermont Public Radio (http://bit.ly/2eUS16m ) he feels the swamp is southeastern Vermont’s “best ecological treasure.”

Black gum trees usually grow 300 or 400 miles to the south.

Department of Environmental Conservation wetlands program manager Laura Lapierre says areas that receive the classification are irreplaceable and important for the state to protect.

The Vernon project is one of four new class 1 wetlands being proposed across Vermont.

In Vernon the plan to protect the swamp includes a 300-foot buffer.

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