The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) along with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) have a keen interest in reducing surface runoff from land surfaces and with improved land management activities throughout the State of Vermont. One goal is to control or reduce sediment and nutrient contributions to surface waters with a particular emphasis on restoring impaired waters. Another goal is to implement land management activities that will help reduce or control pollutant discharges.
McKenzie Brook drainage (includes Hospital Creek, Whitney Creek, Braisted Brook and Stoney Creek) of western Addison County is considered to be a priority agricultural watershed. Waters in the McKenzie Brook drainage are priority tributaries to Lake Champlain. These streams are experiencing impacts from agricultural runoff sources that contribute to poor water quality conditions in the southern region of the Lake.
DEC’s Ecosystem Restoration Program, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) and AAFM, has selected the University of Vermont Extension System (UVM-EXT) in Middlebury as its contractor to deliver technical assistance to willing agricultural landowners within the McKenzie Brook drainage. Assistance provided by UVM-EXT will be to: (1) evaluate existing nutrient management plans (NMP) and nutrient management planning activities affecting farms in the drainage; (2) assess the effectiveness and accuracy of existing NMPs against USDA practice code 590 standards/specifications; (3) determine non-structural best management practice needs on farms; and, (4) identify innovative opportunities in the drainage for deceasing nutrient runoff and nutrient pollutant loading to nearby surface waters. Landowners interested in receiving technical assistance will be advised of the imminent availability of cost share from USDA to implement soil and water conservation practices to reduce runoff and loss of associated pollutants.