FARMINGTON — Many hands made quick work of planting 380 shrubs on the Sandy River erosion site along Whittier Road this week.

Volunteers from Mt. Blue High School, Foster Career and Technology Education Center and the University of Maine at Farmington joined Farmington Conservation Commission members, town officials and volunteers to complete the planting Tuesday.

Initially planned for up to five mornings this week, about two-thirds of the work was completed Monday morning and the rest on Tuesday.

“We are ahead of schedule,” Peter Tracy, commission chairman, said. 

Tracy coordinated the effort and did a great job lining up volunteers, Town Manager Richard Davis said last week.

Juniper, alder and dogwood seedlings were planted among the pilings secured along the banking to stabilize it. The shrubs are expected to grow to about 8 to 10 feet, Tracy said.

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Small white flags were inserted next to juniper seedlings, yellow flags for alder and the reddish ones for dogwood, Joann Mooney from the Maine Emergency Management Agency, said.

Plans are underway to keep the new vegetation watered as meteorologists forecast a warm week, Mooney said.

A previous project was completed in September 2013 and has survived two winters, she said. 

The stabilization work was done to cope with erosion of the riverbank caused by Hurricane Irene in August 2011. The erosion threatened the stability of a section of Whittier Road.

The work included using a system of rocks, tree root-wads and wood pilings to hold back the bank and to capture sediment washed into the system from the river. The work site was 400 feet along the bank.

The initial vegetation was planted in October 2013, Tracy said.

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The survival rate of vegetation needs to be at 70 percent by the end of the second year to meet conditions and permits received on the project, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency grant of $297,416 for the project.

Only 25 percent of the vegetation planted on the riverbank survived the first year, Davis previously said.

Earlier this year, plans were made for the May planting with the town supplying the plants.

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