For Immediate Release – January 25, 2024
Claire Madden, Tracking and Accounting Supervisor
Department of Environmental Conservation
Announcing the Vermont Clean Water Initiative 2023 Performance Report
Montpelier, Vt. – The Department of Environment Conservation (DEC) has released the Vermont Clean Water Initiative 2023 Performance Report. It highlights water quality progress achieved through public investment. By investing $420 million in clean water over the past eight years, the State has cut pollution going into Vermont’s waters.
The new report shows how State funding and regulatory programs have helped:
- Carry out agricultural conservation practices on 303,480 acres of fields and pastures,
- Improve 370 municipal road miles through drainage and erosion control best practices,
- Treat runoff from 2,450 acres of pavement and other hard surfaces through stormwater practices,
- Set up conservation easements for 2,660 acres of floodplain and wetland areas,
- Reconnect 520 miles of streams to restore flow and allow for fish passage, and
- Restore 440 acres of land on riparian buffers and floodplains.
“This report reflects Vermont’s long-term commitment to protect, enhance, and restore the health of our rivers, lakes, and wetlands,” said Natural Resources Secretary, Julie Moore. “Our ongoing clean water work is critical to meeting Vermont's water quality goals. Many of these same projects serve double-duty in that they also help build community resilience to flooding and climate change.”
In the report, DEC details progress to reduce phosphorus pollution in Lakes Champlain and Memphremagog. Excess phosphorus can cause toxic cyanobacteria blooms that impact recreation and aquatic life. To restore water quality, it is key to cut phosphorus.
Since the passage of Vermont’s Clean Water Act in 2015, Vermont has created and expanded a number of regulatory and incentive-based programs to drive implementation of clean water projects. Together, these projects have kept about 94,580 pounds of phosphorus out of Lake Champlain. This is 20% of the total reduction needed to restore the lake’s water quality. For Lake Memphremagog, projects cut about 4,630 pounds of phosphorus, or 14% of the total reduction needed.
DEC will host a webinar on Thursday, February 1, 2024, from 12:00 to 1:00 pm to present the 2023 Performance Report. The event is part of the 2024 Clean Water Conversation Series. To register or find more information, visit the DEC Clean Water Initiative Program (CWIP) Clean Water Conversations website. For updates, subscribe to the email list. You can find recorded talks on the CWIP YouTube channel.
Check out the Vermont Clean Water Initiative 2023 Performance Report to learn more. Explore investments, results, and phosphorus data in the online Clean Water Interactive Dashboard.
The Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for protecting Vermont's natural resources and safeguarding human health for the benefit of this and future generations. Visit dec.vermont.gov and follow the Department of Environmental Conservation on Facebook and Instagram.
A before (left) and after (right) planting of trees and shrubs. The plants will mature to become a buffer between the agricultural land and the adjacent brook which flows into the Missisquoi River. The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program supported this project.
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