At a meeting of the Lake Carmi Implementation Team in Franklin on Thursday, April 19th, farmers from across the Lake Carmi watershed gathered with members of the Franklin Watershed Committee, Lake Carmi Campers’ Association, and Franklin Select Board to review the health of the lake and progress toward meeting goals of the lake’s phosphorus budget (also known as a Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL). The meeting led to a new sense of commitment to an “all in” approach to saving Lake Carmi.
During the meeting, University of Vermont Extension agronomist Heather Darby presented a summary of the testimony she gave at the State House on April 12th. Dr. Darby explained that farmers have long worked to prevent nutrients from running off their farms into Lake Carmi. Her initial soil tests indicated that most farm fields have optimal or relatively low levels of phosphorus, but more work needs to be done. At the April 12th hearing, representatives from all 13 farms in the watershed spoke passionately about their conservation practices, their commitment to improving farmland, and their dedication to protecting Lake Carmi.
The Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) has noted the acceleration of progress in Lake Carmi’s watershed over the last 2½ years since passage of the Vermont Clean Water Act and has shared this in testimony at the State House this past winter. Although there is still more work to do across all sectors, the extensive work already accomplished in the watershed allows ANR’s Watershed Management Division to justify moving forward with an in-lake aeration project to manage legacy phosphorus in the sediments.
The Watershed Management Division is grateful to all those in Franklin who have worked hard to reduce nutrient runoff from the watershed into the lake, and who continue to increase the pace of efforts across all sectors, including farmland, forests, roads, septic systems, shorelands, and stream banks. Reducing nutrient input from the watershed to a sustainable level is the key to protecting Lake Carmi’s health for the long term.