A clean water partnership between the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources (PMNRCD) and the Rutland Regional Planning Commission (RRPC)
In 2019, the Vermont State Legislature passed Act 76, the Clean Water Service Delivery Act. This Act mandates funding for non-regulatory clean water projects, or projects that are not required through an existing permitting process. The Act establishes phosphorus reduction goals for basins, including our South Lake and South Lake Champlain Direct watersheds (see map below) and creates regional organizations called Clean Water Service Providers (CWSP). The CWSPs will oversee clean water project identification, development, and implementation. CWSPs must convene an advisory council made up of local partners who participate in clean water and other resource conservation work, called a Basin Water Quality Council (BWQC) for each watershed, starting with those of Lake Champlain and Lake Memphremagog. For more general information on Act 76 including a copy of the rule, please visit DEC’s website: https://dec.vermont.gov/water-investment/statues-rules-policies/act-76.
The Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District and the Rutland Regional Planning Commission have been named as the South Lake and Southern Lake Champlain Direct Clean Water Service Provider and are working with many partners around the state including the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, other Regional Planning Commissions, Conservation Districts, Watershed Groups, Towns, Land Conservation Organizations, Lake Associations, and many others to create the new watershed-wide project funding mechanism. This new process aims to keep decision-making local and will hopefully be a very open and inclusive process. The process will include open meetings and valuable input from local and regional experts, we well as local groups interested in focusing on water quality. Local associations and other groups of interested residents are invited to assist in project identification and other important aspects of project realization. The BWQC meetings will be held quarterly and will be advertised in advance of each meeting per open meeting laws.
In addition to keeping decision-making local, a goal of the new funding distribution process is to provide technical assistance and financial support for towns and other groups who are interested in implementing clean water projects. The CWSP will work to assist partners through the entire project life-cycle from project identification through implementation and ongoing operations and maintenance of the installed projects.
The Rutland Regional Planning Commission is housing the official web page and project dashboard/map with current project information. Please follow the link below to the official South Lake CWSP web page. PMNRCD will provide technical assistance for project ID, project development, project implementation, and project operations and maintenance. Please contact RRPC or PMNRCD with project specific questions.
The following link is to the official South Lake Clean Water Service Provider web page housed at Rutland RPC:
Basin Water Quality Council
The Basin Water Quality Council will be made up of a selection of clean water partners including the following as mandated by Act 76 (current groups and towns that have agreed to participate in the 2022-2023 Council are in parenthesis – this group is subject to change):
- Two local Regional Planning Commission board members or staff (to include representatives from the Rutland or Addison County RPCs).
- Two local Conservation District board members or staff (to include representatives from the Bennington, Poultney Mettowee, or Otter Creek Conservation Districts).
- Two local Watershed Groups (to include representatives from The Nature Conservancy and Trout Unlimited).
- Two Municipal representatives (to include representatives from Fair Haven, Poultney, and West Rutland).
- One Land Conservation Group representative (to include a representative from Vermont Land Trust).
Any groups or towns interested in participating on the BWQC or attending the public meetings, please contact Barbara at the Rutland RPC or Hilary at PMNRCD.
Qualifying Project Information
The CWSP and BWQC will work together with partners to advance the following types of projects that meet the non-regulatory and project type criteria in the Act and supporting Rule:
Agricultural Projects: Projects on farms that do not meet criteria to be governed by the Required Agricultural Practices (fewer than 4 horses for example), natural resources projects on farms (stream projects for example), or projects on farms that have been pre-approved by Vermont’s Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets (VAAFM) through a review process to be developed.
Forestry Projects: Projects not mandated through the Accepted Management Practices (AMPs) for Maintaining Water Quality on Logging Job in Vermont adopted by Vermont’s Department of Forest, Parks, and Recreation (VFPR).
Stream Projects: Projects identified through Stream Geomorphic Assessments, the new Functioning Floodplain Initiative, or other means that mitigate streambank erosion, re-connect floodplains, improve riparian buffers, etc.
Stormwater Projects: Projects identified in Stormwater Master Plans, Watershed Action Plans, and through other local processes that address urban stormwater runoff, potentially some roads runoff issues, and potentially culverts and stream crossings with associated erosion. *The final guidance for allowable funding through the CWSP for roads and culvert projects, which are regulated projects through the Municipal Roads General Permit, is still to be determined by DEC.
Very Important Note: The Tactical Basin Plan for the South Lake Watershed has information about projects, tactics, and strategies to address water quality issues in each of the areas above and will be the guiding document for all CWSP and BWQC work.