Stormwater Master Planning has become a critical tool to identify and address sources of water quality problems in developed areas throughout Vermont. The Town of Hardwick is located in Caledonia County and situated around the Lamoille River, draining to Lake Champlain. The Caledonia County Conservation District was awarded a grant from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s (VT DEC) Ecosystem Restoration Program to develop a Stormwater Master Plan for Hardwick. Stone Environmental Inc. was contracted to lead the planning effort which involved reviewing existing data, identifying and documenting stormwater or erosion problems in the study area, and working with the Conservation District to develop project priorities and coordinate with the appropriate stakeholders. The effort resulted in the identification of 21 problem areas that were prioritized to create two concept designs, five restoration plans, and the design and construction, using a progressive (design-build) approach where feasible, of two clean water improvement projects.
One of the notable problem areas, selected for further development and a concept solution, is located along VT Route 14 and an adjacent drainage ditch and channel. The drainage ditch/channel is conveying roughly 111 acres of drainage from lands that have been steadily developed over time, and includes a portion of closed-drainage from this developed area, as well as water from a first order unnamed tributary to Cooper Brook.
As a result, the ditch channel along VT Route 14 is actively transporting large sediment loads directly to Cooper Brook. This portion of the channel is subject to regular ditching and re-shaping by either the Town of Hardwick or VTrans, roughly once every 2-4 years. The channel appears to be adjusting its cross-sectional area to accommodate the increase in flows and stream power conveyed during storm events. Due to its location, this project also has multiple stakeholders, including VTrans, a private landowner, the Town of Hardwick, as well as the State’s Rivers and Wetlands Programs. Stone Environmental was able to put together a concept solution that was agreeable to the stakeholders, and includes restoration of a revised stream channel sized to accommodate the 1.5-year storm event, floodplain benches to accommodate flows for larger storm events, as well as grading and planting of native vegetation along benches and slopes. Caledonia County Conservation District will continue to raise funds to prepare a final design for this project and others identified in the plan.