Orleans County Natural Resources Conservation District and the ANR Watershed Management Division is kicking off the tactical basin planning process for the Lake Memphremagog Tomifobia and Coaticook Basin. The community is invited to assist with the identification of specific water quality issues and to comment on a preliminary phosphorus cleanup plan or Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Lake Memphremagog. The meeting will be held on June 30th at the Emory Hebard Building, Newport, VT beginning at 6:00 PM.
A tactical basin plan, which identified nutrient enrichment, aquatic invasive species, and alteration of stream and lakeshore habitat as primary stressors, was last completed in 2012 for this basin. Twenty-three of the 79 actions identified in this plan have been completed and another 43 are in progress to protect and restore water quality and aquatic habitat through collaborative efforts with partners across the basin. Projects have included many miles of buffer plantings on both lakes and streams, the development of stormwater master plans that identify opportunities for improved treatment of stormwater runoff and the implementation of a number of agricultural best management practices where, in many of cases, improvements in water quality downstream have been documented through water quality sampling.
In spite of these efforts there is still a long way to go to meet the phosphorus standard for Lake Memphremagog, and so modeling necessary to develop a phosphorus clean-up plan for Lake Memphremagog (called a Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL) has been completed. Based on this work the Watershed Management Division will be developing the TMDL over the coming year, similar to the TMDL developed for Lake Champlain. At this meeting an overview of the TMDL and phosphorus load reductions required to meet this will be provided and a conceptual implementation scenario to meet these load reduction targets will be presented in an effort to seek initial public input at this early stage in the TMDL process. There will be another meeting focused specifically on the agricultural load reductions targets from the TMDL that will be held on August 11th in Newport at the Poulin Grain building at 11:30 AM. There will be additional opportunities for public comment as the TMDL and tactical basin plans are developed.
Please attend an upcoming meeting, co-hosted by the Memphremagog Watershed Association and Orleans County Natural Resources Conservation District to share your input. Ben Copans, basin planner for ANR and coordinator of the Plan and TMDL said, “Everyone that lives in a watershed both uses and impacts the quality of our waters and so we cannot complete this work alone. We need input from local watershed groups, residents, a variety of stakeholders, as well as other State and federal agencies for the tactical basin plan and TMDL to be successful.”