February 3, 2021 The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) invites Vermonters to attend an online presentation on February 11, 2021 to review a collaborative watershed action plan for the Upper Connecticut River Basin. The plan encompasses Upper Connecticut River and streams that flow to it from the Canadian border down to the Passumpsic River. It includes the Nulhegan River, Willard Stream, and Paul Stream along with several smaller streams that flow directly into the Connecticut River.
Developed in partnership with members of local communities, state and federal agencies, watershed groups, regional planners, and agricultural partners, the basin plan covers four key areas:
- Current water quality conditions.
- Strategies to protect and improve local waterways including efforts to improve fisheries and floodplain habitat.
- Tactics to address water quality concerns which include increasing nutrient levels on Maidstone Lake, Miles Pond and Wallace Ponds, elevated E. coli levels on the Connecticut River and nitrogen loading to Long Island Sound.
- Funding and technical assistance for projects, such as tree planting along shorelines, that contribute to restoration of local waterways.
“The Upper Connecticut Tactical Basin Plan is crucial to meeting landowners’ needs for water quality improvements,” said Heather Johnson with the Essex County Natural Resources Conservation District. “Recently, the Conservation District worked with the Northwoods Stewardship Center, Nectar Landscape Design Studio, Landowners Ron and Kathy Reed and DEC to install a shoreline stabilization project at Maidstone Lake. This project was identified in the previous Upper Connecticut Tactical Basin Plan to minimize erosive conditions that lead to polluted stormwater entering the lake. This updated plan targets necessary funding to expand efforts to implement priority water quality projects to protect and restore our natural resources that are so important in Essex County."
DEC will host a virtual public forum to gather feedback on the plan in partnership with the Northeastern Vermont Development Association and the Essex County Natural Resources Conservation District. The event is scheduled for February 11, 2021 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. A link to the online public meeting, the Draft 2021 Upper Connecticut River Tactical Basin Plan, and an interactive Story Map providing a summary of the plan is available on the Upper Connecticut River Tactical Planning website https://dec.vermont.gov/water-investment/watershed-planning/tactical-basin-planning/basin16. A recording will be available on the website the following day.
The public can also provide comments on the plan. Public comments can be submitted by email: Ben.Copans@vermont.gov or by mail to Ben Copans, Basin 16 Comments, 374 Emerson Falls Road, Suite 4, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819. DEC will respond to comments postmarked or submitted via email by March 5, 2021. Requests for a hard copy of the plan should be directed to Ben Copans at the above email or mailing address.