Through Ecosystem Restoration Program grants provided by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation in 2017 and 2019, the Lamoille County Conservation District (LCCD) conducted a full watershed assessment of the Lake Elmore and Lake Eden watersheds.
LCCD contracted Fitzgerald Environmental Associates LCC and partnered with Lamoille County Planning Commission, VT Department of Environmental Conservation, VT Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Vt Department of Parks and Recreation, Town of Eden and Elmore, Lake Elmore Association and Lake Eden Association, Lake Elmore and Lake Eden shoreline landowners and Vermont Youth Conservation Corp (VYCC) to complete this study.
Both lakes are pristine lakes but has been showing nutrient (i.e. Phosphorus) and sediment loading stresses due to development patterns surrounding the lake. The studies assessed what locations these stressors were most impactful by conduction road erosion inventories, stream walks and shoreline assessments. LCCD worked closely with the town and lake association to identify known issues as well. Approximatly 50 possible projects were identified and 10 of these that ranked highest were brought to 30% design.
As part of this assessment LCCD and The VT Agency of Natural Resources also made inroads introducing the Lake Wise program to local shoreline owners. Lake Wise is a program that helps these land owners implement shoreline Best Management Practices (BMPs) for stormwater management, storm resiliency and improved wildlife habitat. Shoreline owners who score particularly well with their land stewardship will receive a certification and a sign that they can proudly display on their shoreline for their neighbors to see. While the assessment was in progress approximatly 16 BMPs were installed around the lakes with the help of the VYCC and volunteers.
LCCD intends to implement best management strategies to mitigate sediment and nutrient loading at these 10 sites over the next year combined with continued monitoring of water quality. It is important to note that this project as well as all other stormwater, watershed or natural resource conservation projects are also focused on reducing the overall Total Maximum Daily Loads of Phosphorus in the Lake Champlain Basin as spelled out in the State’s Clean Water Initiative and the new goals of the Clean Water Act 76.