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Conserving and protecting soil, water, and natural resources for the local community since 1945.

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Spring Newsletter 2016 Available

Rain Gardens, Bioretention Areas, and Communitymain cell of bioretention area at pa

Lamoille County Conservation District, with generous help from the Town of Morristown,installed three Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) projects this summer to decrease stormwater flows and improve water quality for landowners throughout Lamoille County. Another project at Johnson State College is in the planning stages. By implementing green infrastructure practices such as rain gardens, bioretention areas, or bioswales, etc. Lamoille County Conservation District’s (LCCD) goal is to reduce nonpoint source pollution in the form of stormwater runoff from developed land areas that eventually lead to waterways. The work was funded by a competitive grant from the State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP).

With LCCDs oversight, Peoples Academy High School (PAHS), and the Town of Morristown, constructed “mini constructed wetlands” to capture runoff from parking lots and with it salt, sand, oil, etc. to then store, filter, and slowly release the water into nearby natural waterways. The partner’s goal was to improve the already accepted VT construction standards of their parking areas to progressively improve the capacity to capture and treat stormwater to protect water quality. At Johnson State College (JSC), LCCD worked with Watershed Consulting Associates, LLC to complete a feasibility study and alternatives analysis to improve runoff capture by retrofitting the parking lot.

Two projects were installed at Peoples Academy High School, a Bioretention Area within the grassy area of the sidewalk, and a Rain Garden near the amphitheater. Both projects were designed by Watershed Consulting Associates to capture 90% of the stormwater runoff from the acre parking lot and with it salt, sand, oil, etc. to be stored, filtered, and infiltrated into the ground. Before installation, the untreated stormwater flowed directly into the catch basins that led to a tributary of Ryder Brook, and then to the Lamoille River.

The idea for the school project was initiated by Sheila Tymon’s Envirothon students in 2012 who conceptualized an overall “Green” school plan including rain gardens, a green roof, and pervious pavement. To bring some of the student’s ideas to fruition, LCCD wrote and received FY13 ERP funds with support from Concept 2, Inc. for the conceptual design to capture the parking lot stormwater runoff, and in 2014 received additional FY14 ERP funds for construction.

The Town of Morristown Highway Crew excavated the PAHS site, and Gravel Construction retrofitted the existing grassy area of the sidewalk into the Bioretention Area. LCCD purchased native seeds and installed mostly native plants to assist in the prevention of erosion, filter pollutants, provide pollinator habitat, and for visual appeal. The Town of Morristown seeded the areas with a Hydroseeder, equipment purchased through a former LCCD grant.

Both the Rain Garden and Bioretention Areas consist of shallow a depression that uses vegetation and a calculated mix of soils to filter and absorb water. These depressions then enhance the infiltration, storage, and removal of pollutants from stormwater. A foundation for the design includes studying the amount of stormwater flow from the existing impervious area. These areas are designed to hold standing water for no longer than forty eight hours after the end of a rain event with maximum ponding depths of 6-12 inches.

Rain Gardens can be easily designed and installed by landowners following a simple set of protocols. Rain Gardens are similar to a perennial garden found in a wet depression. The gardens can include a gravel base, topped with a low percent of composted native soils, and planted with water loving perennials. These gardens collect storm flow from driveways and/or water spouts having a simple entrance where rainwater enters the garden and an above-ground overflow where excess water leaves. Upkeep is similar to any garden with the added responsibility to check flow especially after large storm events.

Bioretention Areas are generally larger systems that treat and infiltrate a specific amount of stormwater. Engineered to ensure the design function meets the exact criteria for the sites location, soils, slope, and amount of impervious flow. These areas have continual operational and maintenance requirements since they are part of a stormwater treatment and flow control system. The areas include soil mixes (sand, compost, and topsoil) and erosion control structures like under-drains to aid in the control of overflow, specific vegetation to filter sediment, and check dams or swales to slow the flow of water moving through the system.

Johnson State College’s Bentley Parking Lot conceptual plans include two options. Both options would capture the stormwater from an impervious area of approximately 3.26 acres in size and include re-grading the parking lot to diminish overland sheet flow, and replacing the existing catch basin with a larger basin to accommodate larger pipes and flow. LCCD will seek additional funds for construction Spring, 2015.

For more information on Programs, please visit the Lamoille County Nature Center page.

Interested in Other District Happenings?
Get up-to-date information about out tree and fish sales, summer camp or vacation program, and work in our community by liking us on our Lamoille County Conservation District Facebook page!

 
Friday, 09 September 2011 11:46

Lamoille River Watershed Initiative

Organizations involved in the Lamoille Watershed Basin planning process recognized the need for watershed-wide implementation efforts in 2004. Lamoille County Conservation District took the lead within by implementing the Lamoille Watershed Initiative which is dedicated to serving all parts of the watershed within and beyond the boundaries of Lamoille County. LCCD works to improve the health and vitality of the Lamoille River Watershed by:

  • Leading and coordinating partners and organizations in the watershed
  • Supporting local watershed-improvement actions and projects
  • Raising public awareness through education and engagement

LCCD Watershed Activities and Outreach Projects

  • LCCD initiated a Trees for Streams Program in 1991 and continues to restore riverbanks by installing riparian buffers throughout the watershed each year
  • Coordination and management of projects that cross jurisdictional boundaries for landowners, farmers, and foresters
  • Education programs aligned with VT State Frameworks
  • Service-Learning Opportunities for all ages
  • Stream bank plantings using bioenginnering methods
  • Collaborative partnerships with local watershed groups and projects

Lamoille Watershed Water Quality Monitoring and Exchange Project

LCCD works with schools throughout the Lamoille Watershed to complete water quality projects on an annual basis. Completed in the spring, students are introduced to chemical, biologicial, and geomorphological field studies to assess the river's health. Students can also participate with LCCD partners, in a collaborative Vermont EPSCoR Stream Project being completed by schools and colleges in the watershed. Johnson State College, St. Michael’s, Sterling College, and University of Vermont students collect samples on tributaries to record phosphorus, e-coli, and macroinvertebrate indicators to study healthy water parameters.

Efforts to intiate a water quality analysis of Lamoille River and its tributaries began in the Fall of 2008 with over 200 students. After getting their feet wet and sampling waterways, students studied and gathered information again in Spring 2009. These middle and high school students were introduced to the VT EPSCoR Stream Project by following similar protocols in gathering data at sample sites where JSC and Sterling college students also gathered data. In some cases, representatives from colleges were available to guide students in the data collecting. Sampling consisted of a macroinvertebrate analysis, chemistry test, and riparian buffer observation.

Schools participating in the project created Lamoille Watershed Resource Pages to describe their field work, follow up research, and results from their observations.  Please contact LCCD for more information.

Looking for more data?
Check out data from the Vermont EPSCoR Streams Project . The VT EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) Streams Project is dedicated to collecting and sharing data from streams of the Lake Champlain basin and beyond. VT EPSCoR works with students, teachers, undergraduates and faculty from around the state in this effort. The data gathered serves the needs to a Complex Systems Modeling Group as well as many state/local agencies in finding solutions to the pollution issues in our waterways. Explore this site to learn more!

Lamoille River Basin Water Quality Management Plan
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation's (DEC) Basin Planning Process for the Lamoille River drainage area began in 2003. The underlying objective of the Vermont Basin Planning Process is to protect the high quality surface waters of the basin and to restore those waters that do not meet the Vermont Water Quality Standards. DEC is working in a collaborative fashion with other state, federal, non-profit and volunteer organizations as well as local residents for input, funding, technical assistance, and public education for various water quality improvement projects identified through the watershed planning process.
www.vtwaterquality.org/planning/htm/pl_lamoille.htm

Lower Lamoille River History Booklet
Written by Jeff Fellinger for the Vermont Natural Resources Council, 2000. Gives and excellent history of the lower Lamoille River with references to the Peterson Dam. To download this publication in pdf form, click here.
www.vnrc.org/article/view/5428/1/615

Lamoille River Watershed Agriculture & River Resource Guide
Created by LCCD for educators, farmers, and citizens to provide information on Lamoille River's cultural and natural history, resource concerns, and lesson plans on Phosphorus, Vermont Accepted Agricultural Practices, and Riparian Buffers. Power Point Presentations and Educational Kits are also available as a complement to the guide. The most local guide to the history of and current concerns of the Lamoille Watershed. The Lamoille River Watershed Agriculture & River Resource Guide was made possible with support from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and the Morrisville Rotary Club.

Lamoille River Studies Educational Kits
Educational Kits as listed below are available for teachers within the Lamoille Watershed. There is a small fee for shipping and deposit required for loaning materials. Please contact LCCD to get details on borrowing kits.

Macroinvertebrate Field Study Kit
Kit contains sampling equipment; 3 sets of nets, keys, collection bins, magnifying lens, and guides for student groups to sample and learn about macroinvertebrates.

Chemistry Sampling Kit
LaMotte River Chemistry Kit can be used by teachers for students to sample pH, dissolved oxygen, phosphates, temperature, alkalinity, turbidity, and bacteria.

Macroinvertebrate Lab
This kit can be used by LCCD staff with teachers as it contains more detailed techniques for sampling macroinvertebrates. The kit contains preserved macroinvertebrate specimens, sieve, sampling trays, tweezers, "Guide to Aquatic Entomology", and detailed keys. A smaller kit is also available that contains preserved macroinvertebrate specimens, detailed keys, magnifying lens, and Life Cycle Folders of each specimen.

Lamoille Watershed Map Kit
Lamoille Watershed Map Kit contains maps for classroom use to study the landscape features of the Lamoille River such as watershed or wetland delineation, historical land use changes, and/or watershed surveys. Kit contains: USGS Laminated Maps, Laminated LCPC Lamoille River Watershed Maps, and a CD ROM reproduction of the 1878 "Atlas of the Counties of Lamoille and Orleans Vermont".

Reference Library
LCCD has reference books and power point presentations available on a variety of Lamoille River and other watershed related issues for educators to use either for their own professional development or for classroom use. These are:

  • River Fieldwork Guide for Teachers. An Environmental Citizenship Curriculum Guide. Vermont Institute of Natural Science.
  • Vermont Stream Bank Restoration Guide. USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Vermont Riparian Enhancement Project.
  • Fluvial Geomorphology Power Point Presentation. Produced by Staci Pomeroy, ANR River Scientist for LWA River Dynamics Workshop.
  • Let’s Talk Buffers! Power Point Presentation & Booklet. USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Communication Toolkit.

Lamoille Watershed Informational Pages
The following informational pages were collected for educator’s use. Please click on the appropriate heading to access the information.

Map Resources
USGS National Map Viewer
TopoZone & Terraserver
Old Maps of New England - Beer’s Atlases
Lamoille Watershed Association Map
The Lamoille River Subbasin Map
Lamoille County Planning Commission Map

General River Watershed Information
River History
River Geomorphology
River Biology

Lamoille River Photo Gallery
Photos of the Upper and Mid Lamoille Watershed. Photos in gallery may be reprinted and altered for educational purposes only. All other uses must have permission from LCNRCD and credited to Kimberly Jensen.