A watershed or basin is the land that water flows across or under on its way to a stream, river, or lake. The landscape is made up of many interconnected watersheds that can be defined at varying scales. Nearly all of Addison County falls within the Otter Creek Basin, which drains to Lake Champlain. There are also several watersheds in the region that drain directly to Lake Champlain. The watershed planning process emphasizes voluntary actions to solve identified problems and seeks to maximize public participation and involvement in local decision- making and action. The primary function of the watershed planning process is to bring communities together to identify, protect, and restore water quality conditions on a geographical basis.
The Addison County Regional Planning Commission participates in a variety of initiatives with towns and individual landowners to improve and protect water quality. ACRPC’s current watershed activities include:
Go to the Addison County River Watch Collaborative page.
There are several useful websites on the subject of Stormwater Management and Low Impact Development (LID):
For more information about any of these initiatives, or if you would like assistance with other watershed related projects, please contact Kevin Behm.
ACRPC has produced a Shoreline Condition Map for Lake Dunmore, which is available here.
Low Impact Development is based on reducing the impervious surfaces that generate stormwater flows and treating those flows at their source, instead of piping them away. Most Addison County towns have not implemented this technology in a major way. Since the 1990s, however, research has found that it is both economical and effective toallow precipitation to infiltrate into the ground, using small, localized elements such as rain gardens, bioswales, porous pavement, and green roofs.. Although there are some sites where water infiltration is not advisable, such as around landfills and leaking underground storage tanks; for the most part, water infiltration mimics natural hydrology and is healthier for the watershed.
Click here for LID poster illustrating low-impact development techniques for slowing down stormwater, including green roofs, rain gardens and barrels, pervious pavement, and bioswales.
Addison County’s forests provide a wide range of services that support the region economically, environmentally, and socially. Our forests are a source of raw materials that support traditional forest products industries, such as hardwood veneer, lumber, pulpwood, fuelwood, chipwood and maple syrup. Our forests provide clean water, clean air, and plant and wildlife habitat as well as carbon storage. Our forests are renowned for the recreational opportunities, artistic inspiration, and pleasing views they offer. These natural resources should be used and maintained in ways that will not compromise their future integrity, or that of the region, its residents, and visitors.
Many of the services the forest provides, such as wildlife habitat, air quality protection, water quality protection, and flood storage and protection, are not as easily seen, understood, or quantified as the economic and social benefits provided by forests. However, these “ecosystem services” are vitally important. Forest management and planning initiatives should strive to conserve native biological diversity and maintain ecological functions while providing economic benefits.
The following link will open a new tab containing the Forest Stewardship Atlas – a collaborative project between the VT Agency of Natural Resources and participating Regional Planning Commissions. Extensive forest information is provided as an interactive map. An innovative feature allows a user to create a report of several forest variables for a municipality or user defined area.
Addison County Regional Planning Commission | 14 Seminary Street Middlebury, VT 05753 | 802.388.3141 |