The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in collaboration with local nonprofits, town officials, scientists, and regional planners, has completed two tactical basin plans that will be available for public comment from October 13 to November 12, 2021.
The two plans outline more than 100 combined strategies to restore and protect rivers, lakes, and wetlands across the northwestern part of the state, from Newport and Greensboro to Swanton and Milton.
“If you want to learn about the State’s plans to protect and restore water quality in your watershed or provide comments, I encourage you to attend or watch an upcoming public meeting and get active in supporting these efforts,” said Danielle Owczarski, Watershed Planner for DEC.
The Tactical Basin Plans for the Missisquoi Bay and Lamoille River describe how DEC will work alongside nonprofits, farmers, towns, landowners, regional commissions, and conservation districts to continue to improve water quality, restore aquatic habitats, and prevent future pollution. Each plan identifies specific approaches that ensure agricultural, development, wastewater, and natural resources activities are managed to protect water quality.
For example, Lake Watershed Action Plans and Stormwater Master Plans, funded by DEC and developed by watershed partners in cooperation with Lake Associations and municipalities, provide lists of projects to improve water quality. These projects range from establishing pollinator shrubs and no-mow zones on shorelines which reduce erosion and increase lake habitat to installing underground infiltration systems which reduce the amount of stormwater runoff entering rivers and streams.
"I've really enjoyed the support the DEC has given us and our partners in reaching our clean water goals," said Peter Danforth, Director of Lamoille County Conservation District, who has collaborated with local stakeholders to develop two Lake Watershed Action Plans, for Lake Eden and Lake Elmore, and three Stormwater Master Plans for Johnson, Morrisville, and Hyde Park, in the past four years. "They act more like partners than funders. It has been a pleasure to work with them and I feel I have made lifelong friends in the process."
Both draft plans are available for review and public comment from October 13 through November 12, 2021. Hybrid meetings with virtual and in-person options will be held throughout the geographic span of the basins. Recordings of the meetings will also be available on the Watershed Planning Program’s website.
- The Lamoille hybrid meeting will take place on October 14, 2021, at 6 PM at the Green Mountain Technology and Career Center in Hyde Park with four simultaneous satellite meetings hosted by local watershed partners. To join the Lamoille Tactical Basin Plan public meeting online, use this link https://bit.ly/3hBp1A7 or call in to 802-828-7667, using this conference ID: 865792146.
- Two in-person Missisquoi meetings will take place on October 19, 2021, at 6:30 PM at the Swanton Village municipal complex and on October 27 at 6:30 PM at the Westfield Community Center. The virtual Missisquoi meeting will take place on October 21, 2021, at 6:30 PM. To join the meeting virtually, use this link https://tinyurl.com/ywufz2a2 or call 802-828-7667 and enter the conference ID: 76470647.
The public meeting details, draft plans, and engaging visual and map-based plan summaries known as Story Maps, can be found on the DEC’s basin web pages or by contacting the respective planner, see below:
The Missisquoi River Draft Plan is available online at https://dec.vermont.gov/water-investment/watershed-planning/tactical-basin-planning/basin6 or by contacting Karen Bates at Karen.Bates@vermont.gov or (802) 490-6144.
The Lamoille River Draft Plan is available online at https://dec.vermont.gov/water-investment/watershed-planning/tactical-basin-planning/basin7 or by contacting Danielle Owczarski at Danielle.Owczarski@vermont.gov or (802) 490-6176.