Winooski River Basin water quality management plan completed
Today, the Agency of Natural Resources announced the approval of the Winooski River Basin (Basin 8) water quality management plan. This plan reflects years of work in the Winooski River Basin to evaluate the health of the basin. Secretary Markowitz said, “I am proud of the work done by our basin planner Karen Bates. Her excellent work with the communities in the Winooski River Basin has resulted in a plan that will allow Vermont to protect and improve the water quality in the area for years to come.”
The Basin 8 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 the quality of its surface waters. Karen Bates said, “In this plan we focused both on improvement of water quality and also the health of the aquatic habitat that is vital to our fisheries. We could not have completed this work alone. I am pleased to report that this plan reflects the recommendations of local watershed groups, residents, a variety of stakeholders, the Agency of Natural Resources and natural resource professionals from other state and federal agencies.”
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. Examples of some of the priority actions in the plan include implementing steps to address bacteria in the Huntington and Mad Rivers, and Allen Brook; mapping stormwater systems and detecting illicit discharges in village centers; 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 making contacts with farmers to promote agricultural programs that address water resource concerns.
Neil Kamman, program manager for the Monitoring Assessment and Planning Program, said “This is the third of four plans the Agency will issue this spring, all of which reflect a transition to the new Tactical Basin Planning Process. In the coming weeks, citizens in most regions of Vermont will have opportunities to engage in the tactical planning process by providing input to draft plans and assisting with new plans. The Agency will be increasingly reliant on tactical basin plans to direct funding to the highest priority work that addresses stressors to our surface waters.”