Lakes and Rivers
Lakes and Rivers Programs and Information
Our District works with Vermont's Department of Environmental Conservation to protect, maintain, enhance and restore the health of Vermont lakes through outreach and education, monitoring, and assessment. We assist in water quality testing, enroll landowners in conservation practices which improve water quality, and host water quality workshops and events.
Vermont tests the quality of its inland lakes and rivers through a number of different programs. The Lake Assessment Program monitors the health of Vermont's inland lakes. This program supports Vermont's Water Quality Standards which strive to balance water quality with recreational use through the establishment of water quality trends.
In addition to the Lake Assessment Program, water quality data comes from volunteer water quality sampling. Our District has worked with The La Rosa Partnership Program which helps coordinate water quality groups across the state by alleviating the burden of laboratory costs.
Lake Wise Assessments
Are you a landowner in a lakeside community who is interested in learning more about how to improve your lakes water quality though the implementation of lakeside conservation practices? Check out the Lake Wise Program; an Agency of Natural Resources initiative that awards state parks, town beaches, private homes and businesses with lake-friendly shore land certifications. Contact Lisa Niccolai for more information on Lake Wise Certification for your property: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Water Quality Data
Want to know more about the health of Vermont's lakes and rivers? You can find the most up to date data on the Agency of Natural Resources' Atlas. Simply click on the Layers tab on the bottom left of your screen and select Watershed Management and then select Water Quality Monitoring. Find the river or lake where you want to know about the quality of the water and click on it.
Water Quality in the Ompompanoosuc River
A comprehensive water quality survey of the eastern branch and main stem of the Ompompanoosuc River and its major tributaries was conducted from June through September 2015. This sampling program was a follow up to sampling done in 2006 and 2007 after a number of projects were implemented to evaluate if E.coli levels had been reduced. The sampling sought to discover if that section of the east branch, listed as impaired, might be reevaluated or to help identify source areas where pollution abatement efforts should be focused.
Water sampling results from 2015 were similar to the results from 2006 and 2007, gradually increasing from the Vershire/West Fairlee town line through the Village of West Fairlee on Lake Road. In addition to this, elevated levels were identified at Schoolhouse Brook, Crossroad Brook, Middle Brook and Beaver Brook. On dates without significant rainfall the trends were nearly identical to the results from 2007. On sample dates with rain, the results were lower in 2015, suggesting that some of the buffer planting and other work may have helped to reduce E.coli runoff during these rain events. In the areas with elevated E.coli levels, there are a few small farm operations, housing with septic systems, and the village of West Fairlee where storm water runoff may contribute to E.coli levels. The West Fairlee and Thetford Conservation Commissions agreed to work with the White River NRCD to evaluate farm operations and to continue buffer planting efforts. This group will also work with the Department of Environmental Conservation to evaluate septic systems and stormwater treatment options.