Conservation Law Foundation appeals state decision in an effort to stem manure runoff into the Missisquoi

Photo by Cory Dawson/VTDigger

After Agriculture Secretary Chuck Ross refused to require best practices on farms near Missisquoi Bay, the Conservation Law Foundation has asked the state Environmental Court to step in. CLF’s Vermont chief Chris Kilian says the Missisquoi watershed is in “horrific” shape, and farm runoff is the primary culprit.

Vermont rivers win federal recognition

Wild and scenic rivers

The Upper Missisquoi and Trout rivers will be added to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system. The designation makes towns eligible to apply for federal funding for projects along these rivers. Or, towns can choose to leave the rivers untouched.

State okays Waterbury Dam with new management plan

The state has re-certified the Waterbury Dam, on the condition that the Waterbury Reservoir feeding the dam be kept at consistent summer-time water levels year round. The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation issued a water quality certification for Green Mountain Power’s hydroelectric dam on Friday. The dam management plan is intended to match the natural […]

Residents willing to pitch in cash for Lake Champlain

A shot of algae-free waters of St. Albans Bay off Gould Susslin’s dock. Right: A 2006 blue-green algae bloom off the same dock. Photos courtesy of Gould Susslin

A recent UVM study shows nearly all Vermonters want clean water, and most are willing to pay for it. Residents asserted “protecting water quality” was more important than “fighting poverty and hunger in Vermont.”

208-acre conservation area in Thetford donated to Upper Valley Land Trust

"I call these the guard maples," said Deecie Dennison while walking a trail on 208 acres of land on the side of Ely Mountain in Thetford, Vt. she donated to the Upper Valley Land Trust Tuesday, December 2, 2014. i never would've imagined when I was a kid that I would've owned this," she said. Photo by James M. Patterson/Valley News

Because of its ecological integrity and unique characteristics, the 1,468-foot Ely Mountain and its surroundings were identified several years ago as a “crown jewel” by the Thetford Conservation Commission.

IRS attorney clarifies ‘in perpetuity’ rules for conservation easements

Jason Berard, left, and Joanna Waldman and Connie Snyder tour the Zabedee Wetland in Thetford, an area preserved by the Upper Valley Land Trust and used by students at Thetford Elementary School. Photo by Dirk Van Susteren

The Vermont Land Trust says it will not bring back draft legislation that would give the state authority to approve amendments to easements; critics say the unresolved issue will likely resurface.

Logger pays fine for repeated violations

Cut timber. VTD file photo by Josh Larkin.

Under state law, the maximum area of land that can be clearcut is 40 acres. The Agency of Natural Resources determined that Riendeau heavily cut more than 40 acres without notifying the state. Another one of Riendeau’s logging operations in Wheelock, on land he did not own, left ruts in a wetland and buffer, among other alleged water quality violations.

Irasburg couple arrested for deer poaching

Wayne and Jennie Dion were arrested last week for running an elaborate deer poaching operation from their home in Irasburg, according to a press release from the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife. The couple is accused of deer baiting and illegal night hunting. Game wardens obtained a search warrant and found 91 deer antler […]

Shumlin administration, task force make climate change recommendations

Waitsfield's Great Eddy Covered Bridge was one of many damaged during Tropical Storm Irene. VTDigger file photo

The authors of the report say they want to to eliminate “administrative obstacles” from FEMA that make it difficult for communities to adequately prepare for future storm events.

Leach Farms fined for dumping manure in Bogue Brook in Enosburg Falls

A dairy farm in Enosburg Falls agreed to pay a $40,000 civil penalty on Thursday for rinsing farm equipment in the Bogue Brook, which is a violation of the state’s water quality standards, state officials say.

EPA: State must reduce phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain by 36 percent

A shot of algae-free waters of St. Albans Bay off Gould Susslin’s dock. Right: A 2006 blue-green algae bloom off the same dock. Photos courtesy of Gould Susslin

Even if the state’s plan were fully implemented, projected phosphorus levels in South Lake A and B and Missisquoi Bay would still exceed phosphorus limits set by the EPA. These are sections of the lake where phosphorus levels already must be cut by more than 50 percent to meet the federal requirements, according to the EPA.

State rejects petition for new agricultural regulations

Vermont Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

Manure and fertilizer runoff from farms is the leading cause of phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain, but the state doesn’t yet have the resources to help farmers comply with new water quality regs.

Trash counted on the shores of Lake Champlain

Rachael Miller, co-founder and executive director of the Rozalia Project, picked up bits of marine trash at North Beach in Burlington. Photo by John Herrick/VTDigger

The nonprofit Rozalia Project has been keeping a tally of shoreline trash since 2009. In a report released this month, the organization estimates there could be up to 7 billion pieces of marine debris weighing 51.5 tons in total along the lake’s edge.

Administration suggests fees to fund Lake Champlain cleanup

Clean water

Governor proposes $100-$400 fee on development and a 1 percent increase in the state excise tax on fertilizer sales to raise money to improve water quality.

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