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Lauren Stevens of the Hoosic River Watershed Association explains the blue tubes on the southwestern edge of The Spruces.
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The tubes are protecting native species from being eaten until they are robust enough to survive on their own.
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The tubes surround a swale for water retention and will both stabilize the swale and create an wildlife habitat.

HooRWA Helping to Beautify The Spruces

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — So what are those blue tubes at The Spruces?
Lauren Stevens of the Hoosic River Watershed Association said not worry. The blue tubes sticking out of the ground aren't from outer space but more importantly are not permanent.
"People heard there was planting going on but all they see are these blue alien tubes but these should be gone in a year so," Stevens said. "There are plants inside of them and the tubes are just here to keep the deer, mice, moles or any other little critters that might want to chew on them out."
The plants surround a water detention basin at the former mobile home park installed by the state Department of Transportation to better allow stormwater coming out of drainage pipe to flow out to the river.
HooRWA stepped in and planted 840 native species trees and bushes around the swale to provide a better wildlife habitat and improve the looks of The Spruces that is being converted into a town park.
Stevens says the plantings will also provide some extra support and filtering as along with main purpose of shading the 400-foot length.
"It will contain any excess water rather than have it just flow over and flood," Stevens said of the swale. "These plants will help keep water in, they will keep the banks from washing out and they act as a filter so if there was gunk they would catch it."
Stevens said the project was funded by local Community Preservation Act funds but residents and businesses donated time and supplies to help. 
North Branch Nursery of Stamford, Vt., ordered the plants and helped supervise, Williams College freshmen and community members donated their time, R.K. Miles donated some materials and Wild Oats provided the team with a snack.
Stevens is unsure what HooRWA will contribute to the park in the future but the group does plan to install a bench in remembrance of one of their longtime board members, Ernest Leclaire. The bench will be placed by the river because Leclaire loved to fish.
Clarification: This article was updated on Sept. 9 to clarify the plantings are for ecological, not flooding, purposes.

Tags: environment,   HooRWA,   Spruces,   

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