Basin 17 - Lake Memphremagog, Coaticook and Tomifobia Rivers Basin Planning

Lake Memphremagog - looking north into Quebec

02/01/2012 Final Basin 17 Water Quality Management Plan and Appendix

Basin 17 includes the Vermont portions of the St Francis River Watershed encompassing a total of 589 square miles between the Lake Memphremagog drainage and the Tomifobia and Coaticook River watersheds.  The Vermont portion of this basin includes the Black, Barton and Clyde Rivers and many lakes and ponds including Great and Little Hosmer Lakes, Lake Parker, Crystal Lake, Lake Willoughby, Island Pond, Great and Little Averill Ponds, Norton Pond, Holland Pond and Seymour Lake, along with many others.  In 2012, the Basin 17 water quality management plan was approved with goals reduce nutrient enrichment and exotic invasive species and to improve aquatic habitat conditions.  In total 79 specific actions were identified in the plan to achieve these goals of which more than three quarters have been initiated or completed as of 2016 as can be seen in the report card at this link.  Some highlights include:

  • Illicit discharge detection and elimination study completed for all basin communities.
  • Stormwater master planning completed for Brighton, in progress across in other areas of the watershed.
  • Over 4 acres of buffer plantings completed across the watershed each year through the NorthWoods Stewardship Centers Trees for Streams program and 6 lakeshore buffer plantings.
  •  Rain garden instillation and rain barrel sales by the Memphremagog Watershed Association and numerous outreach events each summer.

TMDL and 2016 tactical basin planning update

Another major focus in the basin has been the development of a phosphorus Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Lake Memphremagog and an associated phosphorus reduction plan to restore this impaired water.  Lake Memphremagog is shared with the province of Quebec with a majority of lake in Quebec while the majority of the lakes watershed is in Vermont.  A lake model has been developed for both the Quebec and Vermont watershed areas to understand how much phosphorus must be reduced from agricultural lands, developed lands, roads, as well as forest and wastewater treatment facilities to allow the lake to meet its water quality standard.  Public outreach on the modeling and TMDL development will continue through 2016 along with the next iteration of the tactical basin plan for basin 17 which will act as the implementation plan for the Lake Memphremagog TMDL as well as address other water quality issues in the basin.   Additional information can be found at this Link to a Summary document about the Lake Memphremagog TMDL and a Link to the draft modeling documentation for the TMDL.

For more information about this important water quality management planning effort contact Ben Copans in St. Johnsbury at (802) 751-2610. 

Additional Resources