Missisquoi Bay Basin Water Quality Management Plan Released

A new plan assesses the health of the Missisquoi Bay Basin and outlines actions necessary to protect and improve it. Photo is the cover of the Missisquoi Bay Plan.

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has approved the Missisquoi Bay Basin water quality management plan. The Missisquoi watershed begins with mountain streams and gorges on the flanks of the Green Mountains and includes the pastoral meanderings of the Missisquoi River along the Canadian border. Lake Carmi, and other lakes, rivers, and wetlands comprise the network of waterbodies in the Basin. The lowest section includes the Missisquoi River delta - a complex of marshes, floodplain and wetland forests covering thousands of acres.

The management plan provides an overview of the health of the basin and a description of priority ongoing and future steps to restore and protect water quality. Sedimentation, turbidity, habitat alterations, nutrient loading, river corridor encroachment and metals from the Eden Mine were some of the stressors identified as negatively impacting water quality. The plan includes an implementation table, which identifies specific actions to address these and other problems. Examples include reducing bacteria in specific area brooks; evaluating the feasibility of removing the Swanton Dam to improve fish habitat; augmenting stormwater system mapping and addressing 13 suspected illicit discharges identified in the towns of Enosburg Falls, North Troy, Richford and Swanton; and reducing phosphorus from the most critical sources. 

Neil Kamman, program manager for the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Monitoring, Assessment and Planning Program, said, “This is the first of three plans the Agency will issue this spring, all of which reflect a transition to the new Tactical Basin Planning Process. In the coming weeks, citizens in the South Lake Champlain and White River watersheds of Vermont will have opportunities to engage in the tactical planning process by providing input to draft plans and assisting with new plans. The Agency is increasingly reliant on tactical basin plans to direct funding to the highest priority work that addresses stressors to our surface waters.” The final Missisquoi Bay plan and appendix are available online athttp://www.<wbr />watershedmanagement.vt.gov/ or by contacting Karen Bates at (802) 879-2339 or karen.bates@ state.vt.us. If you live in the watershed, please stay involved to ensure the follow-up actions are carried out.