The tactical basin plan for the Deerfield River and Southern Connecticut River Tributaries has received final approval from both ANR Secretary Markowitz and DEC Commissioner Mears. This plan, covering areas as remote as Glastonbury and Somerset and as popular as Brattleboro and Wilmington, brings together all the information gathered by the Watershed Management Division and lays out the action steps that will lead to improvements to water quality and aquatic habitat in the region.
Action items cover a wide range of improvements from reducing sediment in Crosby Brook in Brattleboro and bacteria levels in the North Branch of the Deerfield to protecting those waters that remain in the best, most natural conditions such as Grout and Stamford ponds, tributaries of the upper Deerfield River and the floating bog in Sadawga Lake.
With large tracts of preserved land in the Green Mountain National Forest and heavily developed areas in towns and ski resorts, the basin has a wide array of challenges and opportunities. Working with partners in the region, action steps identified in the plan will be implemented on the ground to address the ten stressors targeted in the Vermont Surface Water Management Strategy. Channel and land erosion, bacteria and nutrients, and the alteration of natural flow levels are all causing stress on rivers and streams and aquatic and riparian habitats.
Coming after the devastating results of Tropical Storm Irene which hit the basin particularly hard, flood resiliency is a prime focus of implementation actions that should help reduce future flood impacts. Chris Campany, Executive Director of the Windham Regional Commission stresses that, “Basin plans are foundational to understanding how our watersheds function, what influences water quality within the basins, and where life and property are most at risk due to flooding and bank erosion. The fate of our rivers and streams, and how well we coexist with them, lies with the choices we make, and it is our hope that knowledge will inform action at the individual, household, town, region, state and federal levels.”
The Watershed Management Division is looking for community partners interested in becoming involved in implementing the Plan’s actions and working toward improved water and habitat in southeastern Vermont. Contact Marie Levesque Caduto for more information 802-885-8958.