Vermont’s Roadmap to Protect, Maintain, Enhance, and Restore our Surface Waters

Learn about water quality protection in Vermont.
Learn about water quality protection in Vermont.

It might sound like a simple thing to identify and prevent pollution from impacting Vermont’s surface waters, but those who work in the field of watershed management understand that this work is anything but simple. Vermont’s 808 inventoried lakes and ponds, ~7,100 miles of stream, and 300,000 acres of wetlands are subject to a wide array of stressors, which are managed with diverse tools, many programs, and even more stakeholders. To spotlight how our watersheds are managed to support clean waters, the Division has developed the Vermont Surface Water Management Strategy.

The Strategy discusses how 10 major surface water stressors are managed by Vermont’s many programs. These stressors have damaging effects on surface waters because of the pollutants they produce, which in turn threaten public health and safety. Stressors result from certain activities on the landscape, although occasionally natural factors result in stressors being present as well. Managing pollutants really means managing stressors, and the approach for managing each one differs. For this reason, the Surface Water Management Strategy has specific “recipes” to address each stressor.

The Strategy is an evolving document. First released just months prior to Tropical Storm Irene, the Strategy is currently being revised to account for the lessons learned and new programs that Vermont has put in place to support resiliency to climate change. To read a digested version, the reader is directed to the introductory chapter of the Strategy. The Watershed Management Division implements the Strategy by means of our Tactical Basin Planning Process and a robust monitoring and assessment program. Tactical Basin Planning and the Surface Water Management Strategy V2.0 will be featured in future posts on The Flow.