A series of public comment meetings will be held in April to gather feedback on the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Draft Passumpsic and Upper Connecticut River Basin Tactical Water Quality Management Plan. The public is encouraged to attend the meetings, hear a presentation and offer their comments and suggestions.
Meetings will take place from 6:00 to 7:30 pm in the following locations:
April 17: Brunswick, Silvio O. Conte refuge visitor center located at 5396 Rte. 105 in Brunswick, Vermont
April 22: St Johnsbury, NVDA Office located at 36 Eastern Avenue in St Johnsbury, Vermont
The Passumpsic and Upper Connecticut River Tactical Basin Plan was developed with the purpose of improving both water quality and aquatic habitats, and presents the recommendations of State and Federal resource agencies, watershed partner organizations, planning commissions, municipalities, and individual citizens. This is the first tactical basin plan developed for this part of Vermont, and provides a workplan for surface water protection and improvement. The draft basin plan includes a description of high quality waters recommended for reclassification to Class 1 wetlands and class A(1) streams, the potential designation of the Nulhegan River basin as an Outstanding resource Water, and potential floodplain forest protections and restoration along the Connecticut and Passumpsic Rivers. Water quality issues addressed in the basin plan include bacteria from combined sewer overflows in St Johnsbury, flooding in the town of Lyndon and erosion hazards in many locations in the basin, sediment and stormwater runoff in the Dish Mill Brook, along with sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen issues across the watershed.
The central component of this Tactical Basin Plan is an implementation table with targeted actions to protect high quality waters and to address the water quality issues identified above. Top priority actions in the plan include improving river corridor and floodplain protections in town zoning, establishing water quality sampling program, addressing combined sewer overflows in St Johnsbury with a focus on targeted green stormwater infrastructure, work with farmers on nitrogen management on farms, developing a stormwater master plan for the Dish Mill Brook watershed, and completing road erosion inventories for targeted towns in the basin.
Ben Copans, Watershed coordinator with the Agency of Natural Resources, explains “Watershed residents play a key role in protecting and restoring water quality through simple actions such as proper maintenance of driveways, taking precautions to prevent the spread of invasive species, engaging in discussions about water quality protections in town zoning, and using good farming and logging practices, so public input and support is essential to the plans success.”
Copies of the draft plan may be obtained on-line at http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/waterq/planning/htm/pl_passumpsic.htm or by requesting a copy from Ben Copans by email at email@example.com or phone at (802) 751-2610. The public comment period runs until May 8, 2014. Comments received by this date will be addressed in a responsiveness summary.
Contact: Ben Copans, (802) 751-2610, firstname.lastname@example.org