AmeriCorps Members Attend Water Quality Training at Lake Carmi

The group of 20 Environmental and Career Opportunities (ECO) AmeriCorps members traveled to Franklin, just south of the Canadian border, to visit Lake Carmi and learn about the water quality issues and opportunities in the watershed.

The day started out at the Franklin Town Hall with a brief presentation from Jessica Draper, the Coordinator of the Franklin Watershed Committee. After listening to the challenges and opportunities the small watershed group faces, the AmeriCorps members went out into the field and visited different sites along the lake that had installed Best Management Practices to address water quality issues.

The tour of Lake Carmi was led by Michaela Stickney of the Lake Champlain Basin Program. All of the sites that were visited had received grant funding through either the Better Back Roads program, or the Ecosystem Restoration Program.

AmeriCorps members see a rain garden installed to prevent runoff from entering Lake Carmi

Michaela Stickney shows the AmeriCorps members a rain garden and explains its benefits to the homeowner and Lake Carmi. Photo credit: Carey Hengstenberg

The first stop was a lake shore property where the homeowners installed a rain garden to reduce the dirt road runoff that was running into their lawn, and directly into the lake. By having the rain garden between the road, the lake property, and the lake itself, the homeowner is directly reducing sediment and phosphorus from getting into Lake Carmi.

The second site on the tour was a dirt road directly next to the lake itself. The Better Back Roads program funded a shoreline stabilization project along the road. Different sections of the road featured some of the Best Management Practices used to control road erosion along a lakeshore.

“During our tour of Lake Carmi we saw firsthand, the impacts of road runoff and erosion on water quality. I was most struck by the apparent simplicity of shore land stewardship by including rain gardens and more trees along the shoreline, and the simultaneous lack of implementation along certain parts of the shore” said Michelle Graziosi an AmeriCorps member serving with the University of Vermont Center for Sustainable Agriculture and the Vermont Department of Health.

After the tour the AmeriCorps members headed back to the Franklin Town Hall to hear from Tim Clear of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation about the TMDL specific to Lake Carmi. Following Tim’s presentation, Joanne Garton of the Agency of Natural Resources spoke about her Masters work related to Best Management Practices on roads in Vermont. These two presentations reinforced what was seen in the field.