Friends of the Mad River (FMR) continues to expand its Storm Smart program for helping property owners protect roads and waterways. Launched in the Mad River Valley of Vermont in 2018, the program is expanding to the Winooski River watershed in partnership with the Winooski Natural Resource Conservation District and the Friends of the Winooski River. The program helps homeowners assess their property and implement practices that slow runoff, spread it across the landscape, and let it soak into the ground before it can cause erosion, degrade water quality, and destroy sensitive habitat.
Watch this Clean Water Commitment video to learn how Friends of the Mad River and other watershed organizations are helping to reduce runoff and pollution.
The Lake George Association (LGA) worked with a group of partners to replace an undersized culvert on Foster Brook in Huletts Landing, NY. In recent years, two catastrophic events (tropical storm Irene in 2011 and a beaver dam break) on Foster Brook caused significant erosion downstream of the culvert, which was worsened during storm events that followed. The new culvert helps to eliminate the firehose effect created by the smaller culvert that was there and allows the brook to flow more naturally. Efforts to stabilize the stream bank help to minimize erosion, which significantly reduces phosphorus loading entering Lake George. The wider bottomless culvert also improves stream habitat by making it easier for fish and other organisms to move past the road.
The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) and faculty from Castleton State University are developing lake-focused lesson plans and working with teachers to develop and provide curriculum instruction using a large-format map that measures 27′ x 35′. Museum educators are designing initial lessons using data and stories in the 2018 State of the Lake and Ecosystem Indicators Report. Tangible, physically-active, place-based activities will connect geography and science with watershed stewardship. The goal is for students to make a connection to the watershed and view stewardship as their responsibility. LCMM is working with teachers through remote learning and will bring the map into schools and summer programs.
Watch the LCMM’s video about the Giant Map to learn more.
Researchers at the University of Vermont have started a new fish surveying program in Lake Champlain to assess changes in fish populations. The study pays particular attention to the impact of growing lake trout populations on rainbow smelt and other prey fish. Lake trout have recently begun naturally reproducing in the lake—a long sought-after goal, but fisheries experts are concerned that this might lead to a collapse in the prey fish at the bottom of the food chain and have drastic consequences for the entire fish ecology of the lake. The UVM scientists are working with biologists from Vermont, New York, and Wisconsin to incorporate lessons from past fish survey work on Lake Champlain and the Great Lakes. The goal is to put in place a long-term survey program and fish community monitoring plan that will help scientists make decisions about fisheries management.
The Ausable River Association is studying the use of deicing salt on roads and sidewalks and the amount of salt pollution in waterways in the Lake Placid area. The study will measure the amount of salt applied by town plows and equipment and analyze what relationship that might have on the amount of salt that reaches Mirror Lake and the Chubb River. The information they gather will help improve the effectiveness of salting to keep roads and sidewalks safe, while reducing pollution to these waterways and ultimately Lake Champlain.