Today, the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) announced the approval of the Southern Lake Champlain Tactical Basin water quality management plan. This plan covers basins 2 and 4 – the Poultney and Mettowee Rivers, and the Lower Champlain Direct tributaries. The Southern Lake Champlain Tactical Basin Plan reflects years of work in the Southern Lake Champlain Watershed (Basin) to evaluate the health of the surface waters.
The Southern Lake Champlain Tactical Basin Plan provides an overview of the health of the basin and a description of the priority future and ongoing steps to restore and protect the quality of its surface waters. What makes this plan “tactical” is the reliance on comprehensive water quality monitoring and assessment information to develop high priority implementation actions and tasks that provide opportunities for all stakeholders in the Southern Lake Champlain Basin to pursue technical and financial support for water quality improvement.
“This plan culminates years of combined efforts on behalf of not only the ANR, but many important stakeholder groups,” according to Ethan Swift, ANR’s supervising watershed planner. “The cumulative actions already undertaken, or identified as priorities for ongoing work, reflect the important contributions of many citizens and citizen-based organizations, municipalities, and regional, state and federal organizations.”
Rutland Regional Planning Commission Director Fred Nicholson added, “As a long-term advocate of a common sense approach to the use and conservation of our natural resources, I am happy to see the landowners and stakeholders included in the planning process.”
The central component of the water quality management plan is the implementation table, which includes specific actions to address threats to surface waters in the basin. This Plan contains important actions aimed at reducing phosphorus pollution to Lake Champlain. In addition, the Plan includes numerous local priorities, such as:
• Diagnosing bacteria contamination sources in Flower Brook (a tributary to the Mettowee River)
• Mapping of stormwater systems and detection of illicit discharges in several municipalities
• Working with towns to apply for Better Backroad grants and to include protections for fluvial erosion hazard zones and buffer zones in local zoning, and
• Technical assistance and support to farmers to promote agricultural programs that protect or restore surface waters
The draft plan was released for public comment in March of 2014 and three public meetings were held to receive public comment. Public comments have been addressed in a responsiveness summary – Appendix I of the Plan. The final plan and appendix are available online at: http://www.watershedmanagement.vt.gov/wqdhome.htm or by contacting Ethan Swift at 802-786-2503 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact: Ethan Swift, 802-786-2503, email@example.com