The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has approved the Passumpsic and Upper Connecticut River Tactical Basin Plan. The Plan was developed with the purpose of improving water quality and aquatic habitats, and presents the recommendations of State and Federal resource agencies, watershed partner organizations, planning commissions, municipalities, and individual citizens.
Irene Nagle, of the Northeast Vermont Development Association (NVDA), explained that, “the tactical plan will guide NVDA’s work with communities to address flood resiliency. The plan compiles information from a broad array of studies on streams, bridges and culverts, and stormwater mapping, and provides a foundation for effective town planning and zoning. By setting priorities and identifying funding sources for project implementation, the plan provides a clear direction for communities seeking to move towards a flood-resilient future.”
The tactical plan includes a description of high quality waters recommended for reclassification to Class 1 wetlands and class A(1) waters, the potential designation of the Nulhegan River basin as an Outstanding Resource Water, and a host of 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
· Erosion hazards in many locations in the basin
· Sediment and stormwater runoff in the Dish Mill Brook, and
· Sediment and nutrient sources 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 a water quality sampling program
· Addressing combined sewer overflows in St. Johnsbury with a focus on targeted green stormwater infrastructure
· Technical assistance and support for farmers to manage nitrogen runoff from farms
· Developing a stormwater master plan for the Dish Mill Brook watershed, and
· Completing road erosion inventories for targeted towns in the basin.
The plan also includes descriptions of water quality improvement projects completed during the planning process, including backroad erosion control and the creation of the Johnson Farm Wildlife Management Area on the banks of the Connecticut River.
Copies of the Plan may be obtained online at http://www.vtwaterquality.org (link is external) or by requesting a copy from Ben Copans by email at email@example.com (link sends e-mail) or phone at 802-751-2610.