The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources prepared the Missisquoi Bay Basin Water Quality Management Plan with cooperation from the Missisquoi watershed community. For a summary of this plan please scroll down. For the full plan click here.
This plan focuses on putting in place projects that will reduce phosphorous levels in Lake Carmi and Lake Champlain, along with their tributaries. It also covers stormwater mapping and planning projects for towns within the Missisquoi watershed. Other priorities include streambank erosion prevention and wetland conservation.
Eighteen public water supply systems are within the Missisquoi River Basin, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources has asked for mapping of buffer zones around these areas in the plan.
Toxic substances leak into the Missisquoi Bay. One of the most pressing concerns is mercury, not only the bay is impaired due to this but also the Missisquoi River that flows from Sheldon springs to the mouth is impaired as well. Another toxic concern is asbestos, the source of asbestos is an abandoned mine in Lowell which feeds the river asbestos primarily through sediment erosion. Other concerns that the community of the Missisquoi Bay has are: algal blooms in the Missisquoi Bay and Lake Carmi, the decline of fish and wildlife in streams and rivers and restricted swimming due to unsafe bacteria levels.
Also habitat for fish will be focused on and passageways for them to travel past manmade obstacles like dams. Also certain dams will be looked at to see they can be removed. Along with these goals the plan focuses on helping restore habitat from invasive species and perform outreach to communities about invasive species threats and management.
The plan also sets out working with communities in regards to development and agriculture. It recognizes that farming is a vital part of Franklin County and focuses on working with the farmers to reduce phosphorous loads and runoff. Also the plan focus on working with erosion prevention by installing culverts when necessary, plants to hold soil in place and other practices.
The Missisquoi Bay Basin Water Quality Management Plan also works with communities to reduce stormwater runoff from developed land, including mapping and planning initiatives to address stormwater problems. Impervious surfaces provide a fast-track for untreated water to reach streams and rivers with harmful nutrients and chemicals in tow. Stormwater treatment practices promote infiltration of water and allow suspended solids containing pollutants to settle out before reaching our water resources.