News Releases

November 14, 2011

Public Comment Meetings Being Held for ANR Basin 17 Water Quality Plan for the Lake Memphremagog Tomifobia and Coaticook River Watershed

A series of public comment meetings will be held in December to gather comments on the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Draft Basin 17 Water Quality Management Plan covering the Lake Memphremagog Tomifobia and Coaticook river watershed.

The public is invited to hear a presentation on the plan and offer their comments and suggestions.

Meetings will take place from 6:30 – 8:00 pm at the following locations:

December 1st

Brighton Town Hall

48 Mill St

Island Pond, VT 05846

December 5th

Emory Hebard State Office Building

100 Main Street

Newport, VT 05855

The Basin 17 river basin water quality management plan provides an overview of the health of the basin and a description of the priority future and ongoing steps to restore and protect its surface waters. With the purpose of improving both water quality and aquatic habitat, this plan presents the recommendations of local watershed residents, stakeholders from varying interests, the Agency of Natural Resources and natural resource professionals from other state and federal agencies to guide protection and improvement efforts in this basin for the next five years. The central component of this water quality management plan is the implementation table, which includes 79 specific actions to address the threats to surface waters in the basin.

Basin 17 includes all the waters in Vermont that flow to Lake Memphremagog including the Black, Barton, Clyde and Johns Rivers as well as the Tomifobia and Coaticook watersheds that together make up the Vermont portions of the Saint Francis River watershed. Waters in this basin support many uses including swimming, boating and fishing in its extensive rivers, streams, lakes, ponds and wetlands. Threats to these uses include: nutrient enrichment, which has caused the impairment of Lake Memphremagog and threatens other lakes in the basin; aquatic invasive species that are present in a number of waters and are a threat to all waters; and finally alterations to aquatic and riparian habitat along rivers, lakes and wetlands. The top ten priority actions in this management plan are to:

1. Develop a TMDL to address the phosphorus impairment of Lake Memphremagog.

2. Complete stormwater system mapping and illicit discharge detection for the City of Newport, Derby village, Orleans village of and Barton Village.

3. Work with all towns in the Vermont portion of the basin to apply for at least one Better Backroads Grant to address one of the major water quality issues identified by the road review committee.

4. Establish an agricultural water quality group that will represent the interest of the Memphremagog region; and leverage the positive attention of the legislature, the press, and the watershed community; and promote the best use of government cost share dollars.

5. Make direct contact with agricultural producers to promote existing programs such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program that provide incentives for fencing, watering tanks.

6. Work with Vermont towns to include protection for floodplains, Fluvial Erosion Hazard zones and buffer zones in local zoning.

7. Hold an annual Vermont Invasive Patrollers (VIP) training in the basin to support the establishment of VIP programs for lakes and ponds in the basin.

8. Working closely with local land trusts, lake associations and towns, contact landowners of the highest priority undeveloped lakeshore parcels to determine interest in conservation and conserve at least one of the top priority parcels.

9. Develop specific wetland conservation priorities for high value wetlands for both habitat and phosphorus retention and use the priorities to focus the wetland conservation and restoration work of the many different partners involved in such work in the basin.

10. Work with Hydro Coaticook, the Public Service Board and local residents to identify and address the water resource concerns associated with water level fluctuations at Norton and Great and Little Averill ponds so these, and downstream waters, will meet the Vermont Water Quality Standards.

Copies of the plan may be obtained online at http://www.vtwaterquality.org or by requesting a copy at the number below. The public comment period runs until December 21st, 2011. Comments received by this date will be addressed in a responsiveness summary.

Source: Agency of Natural Resources
Last Updated at: November 14, 2011 15:30:56