Announcements / Progress

Regional Planning Commissions Assist with Water Quality Planning Efforts

In 2015 the Addison County Regional Planning Commission, ACRPC, entered into a $40,000 grant agreement with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, DEC, under Section 604b of the federal Clean Water Act to carry out a variety of water quality planning related projects.  ACRPC sub-contracted work to each of the other participating regional planning commissions, RPC, in the State to perform work related to water quality within their particular region. Work performed by each of the participating RPCs fell under one of three broad categories. A summary of work completed by the RPCs appear under applicable categories.

Tactical River Basin Planning phase: Monitoring & Assessment

ACRPC assisted and supported the Addison County Riverwatch Collaborative with technical assistance and outreach of water quality sampling results to municipalities and the general public in the Addison County region. ACRPC developed municipal watershed maps, web content and other outreach material for municipalities and the public.

Lamoille County Planning Commission conducted a GIS mapping analysis with the Towns of Belvidere and Stowe to determine the percent of roads in each town were in conflict with rivers. A subsequent GIS analysis was then conducted to determine the total constraints of town road sites.  The constraints placed on the road segments included the following: within river corridor, within 50-foot buffer, within 100-year floodway, road slope, percent bank-full width of structures at stream crossings. Twelve sites were identified in the Town of Belvidere and 7 locations were identified in Stowe.

Transportation and river conflict site identified in Stowe, VT. Photo Credit: Lamoille County Planning Commission

Transportation and river conflict site identified in Stowe, VT. Photo Credit: Lamoille County Planning Commission

Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission developed a stormwater mapping and planning workshop for its municipalities. A video of the workshop was created for other municipalities and RPCs to access in the future. Topics addressed in the presentation include the timeline and most recent information regarding the Municipal Roads General Permit, municipal obligations to the upcoming permit, surface waters and what roads fall under the permit’s jurisdiction, data collection and basic road survey methodology, and best management practices to address stormwater and erosion problems. The presentation also gave a brief overview of the stormwater management plan process the RPC conducted in the Ayers Brook watershed (Braintree, Brookfield, Randolph).

Tactical River Basin Planning phase: Plan Development

Bennington County Regional Commission produced maps of Bennington County municipalities showing the recently developed Road Erosion Risk Analysis that identifies potentially high priority road infrastructure improvement needs that will guide towns in the area when prioritizing road erosion remediation and stream crossing replacements. In addition, culvert assessment data was overlain on these maps indicating where high priority restoration projects might be located, especially where road and river conflicts appear to exist.

Chittenden County RPC reviewed the water quality condition, goals and objectives, and the priority strategies from each DEC tactical river basin water quality management plan that are relevant to Chittenden County. The RPC drafted specific strategies to be included in both Plans indicating that CCRPC will help with the development, prioritization of projects and implementation of the tactical river basin plans.  The RPC also drafted ECOS Plan amendments to include flood resiliency, River Corridor Protection, and waste water treatment plant upgrades as called for in the Lake Champlain TMDL and supported by the tactical river basin plans.

Central Vermont RPC staff compiled 300 mass failures, landslides, and gully locations from existing DEC Phase 2 geomorphic assessments.  Staff met with a Geology Professor at Norwich University and State Geologist to discuss landslide mapping and site vulnerability.  CVRPC identified which landslides and mass failures in the region posed a risk to transportation roadways and structures (residential/commercial) by reviewing the landslide attributes and orthophotos.  CVRPC identified 11 landslides that were close to roads and 14 landslides that were close to residential homes.  Staff selected 8 sites for a more detailed site visit.  The site visits revealed that only one landslide posed a risk to a residential home.

Northwest RPC used funds to participate in the tactical river basin planning process for the Missisquoi Bay watershed.  This included conducting outreach, providing municipal information for the basin plan and offering technical support during its development.  NRPC also used funds to support implementation projects in the Northern Lake Champlain Basin Plan, Missisquoi Bay Basin Plan, and stormwater management plans in the region.

Rutland Regional Commission developed a regional map of the public infrastructure at risk to flood and erosion.   Public infrastructure of interest includes: transfer stations, former landfill sites, water treatment facilities, town halls, and fire stations. The RPC identified the top ten structures and road segments in the region. These have been brought to the attention of the municipality and many are already scheduled for improvement.

Southern Windsor County RPC selected three projects identified in the Phase 2 Stream Geomorphic Assessment Report for the Mill Brook watershed to undergo further refinement.  Engineering and construction RFPs were developed. The RPC is currently in the process of hiring an engineer to develop project specifications.

Tactical River Basin Planning phase: Implementation

Northeast Vermont Development Association RPC worked with DEC and NorthWoods Stewardship Center to compile GIS mapping data about the locations of recent (since 2009) riparian buffer planting projects within the Lake Memphremagog watershed.  As a cooperative effort with a different grant from DEC, NorthWoods reached out to landowners to identify and prepare shovel-ready riparian planting projects within the Lake Memphremagog watershed.   NorthWoods was able to identify and confirm 9 planting sites.  All this work positioned the groups for the 2016 Northeast Kingdom Lakeshore Buffering Program, an effort to intended to reach a 4 acre planting goal.