Passumpsic River Water Quality Meeting Today In St. Johnsbury - The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
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home : features : science and nature November 24, 2015

Passumpsic River Water Quality Meeting Today In St. Johnsbury

A public meeting will be held today in St. Johnsbury to gather feedback on the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources' Draft Passumpsic and Upper Connecticut River Basin Tactical Water Quality Management Plan. The public is encouraged to attend the meetings, hear a presentation and offer their comments and suggestions.

The meeting is from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the NVDA office at 36 Eastern Ave.

This is the first tactical basin plan developed for this part of Vermont, and provides a workplan for surface water protection and improvement. The draft basin plan includes a description of high quality waters recommended for reclassification to Class 1 wetlands and class A(1) streams, the potential designation of the Nulhegan River basin as an Outstanding resource Water, and potential floodplain forest protections and restoration along the Connecticut and Passumpsic Rivers. Water quality issues addressed in the basin plan include bacteria from combined sewer overflows in St Johnsbury, flooding in the town of Lyndon and erosion hazards in many locations in the basin, sediment and stormwater runoff in the Dish Mill Brook, along with sediment, phosphorus and nitrogen issues across the watershed.

The central component of this Tactical Basin Plan is an implementation table with targeted actions to protect high quality waters and to address the water quality issues identified above. Top priority actions in the plan include improving river corridor and floodplain protections in town zoning, establishing water quality sampling program, addressing combined sewer overflows in St Johnsbury with a focus on targeted green stormwater infrastructure, work with farmers on nitrogen management on farms, developing a stormwater master plan for the Dish Mill Brook watershed, and completing road erosion inventories for targeted towns in the basin.

Ben Copans, Watershed coordinator with the Agency of Natural Resources, explains "Watershed residents play a key role in protecting and restoring water quality through simple actions such as proper maintenance of driveways, taking precautions to prevent the spread of invasive species, engaging in discussions about water quality protections in town zoning, and using good farming and logging practices, so public input and support is essential to the plans success."

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