Did you know that Governor Shumlin declared July 2016 to be Lakes Appreciation Month? In celebration, the Lakes & Ponds Program invites all Vermonters to join us in exploring the theme of “Healthy Watersheds, Healthy Lakes” celebrating what’s right with our lakes and their watersheds.
Much of our focus during recent months has been on what needs to be restored, yet one of our Division’s goals is to protect Vermont’s pristine waters—and there are many pristine lakes to protect. To keep these lakes healthy, we need to not only protect and restore native shoreline vegetation (as supported by the 2014 Shoreland Protection Act and the Vermont Lake Wise Program) but also maintain healthy lake watersheds. Good land stewardship practices in our watersheds can go a long way toward protecting our high quality lakes. The old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is an apt metaphor when it comes to managing our lake watersheds.
Fortunately, there are many healthy watersheds in Vermont to protect and extensive resources available to support their protection. At the national level, the EPA maintains a rich library that supports “protecting aquatic systems through landscape approaches.” Several examples from Vermont are included among the successful projects cataloged there. At the state level, we have Watersheds United Vermont empowering grassroots organizations to protect healthy watersheds and the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Tactical Basin Planning process guiding regional protection efforts.
We also want to remind our partners that the EPA provides high quality watershed education materials through their Watershed Academy. If you’ve never visited this virtual training center, we urge you to do so. For a sample experience, try the module titled “Introduction to Watershed Ecology” that includes an overview of different lake types and the processes that form them. If you have some extra time and are looking for a credential to add to your resume, why not complete the fifteen modules required to earn EPA’s Watershed Management Training Certificate?