Basins 2 & 4 - Southern Lake Champlain Tactical Basin Planning

Hikers overlooking the lake from an elevated, wooded vantage point

December 31, 2017: Final South Lake Champlain Tactical Basin Plan is now available for download!

Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation Schedules Public Forum Meetings for the Draft South Lake Champlain Tactical Basin Plan 

MONTPELIER - A series of public comment meetings will be held in November to gather feedback on the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources’ Draft South Lake Champlain Tactical Basin Plan and North Lake Champlain TMDL Phase II Plan Update. The public is encouraged to attend the meetings, hear a presentation and offer their comments and suggestions. Meetings will take place in the evening in the following locations:

Basin Draft South Lake Champlain Tactical Plan Public Meetings

November 28th Poultney (4 – 6 PM)
Southern Vermont Office of TNC
The Bentley House
348 Bentley Ave, 
Poultney, VT

November 29th – Orwell (7 – 9 PM)
Orwell Free Library
473 Main St, 
Orwell, VT

The South Lake Champlain Tactical Basin Plan (TBP) was developed with the purpose of both improving and protecting water quality and aquatic habitats, and presents the recommendations of State and Federal resource agencies, watershed partner organizations, planning commissions, municipalities, and individual citizens. 

The Plan provides an overall assessment of the health of the “South Lake” Champlain Basin, which covers approximately 500 square miles through 24 towns from Rupert to Charlotte, and defines on-going and future actions and strategies to address high-priority stressors. An additional goal of the plan is to set priorities for meeting targets for phosphorus loading from the South Lake and all of the waters in its drainage basin that contribute to the South Lake “A” and “B” and Port Henry segments of Lake Champlain.

The central component of the Tactical Basin Plan is an implementation table summary with targeted actions to protect very high quality waters and to address the water quality issues in the South Lake watershed. To address the myriad of complex surface water challenges and opportunities in the Basin, dozens of actions are identified in the plan with hundreds of individual related projects included in the VT Watershed Projects database. 

Top priority actions in the plan include: 

  • protecting very high quality surface waters by monitoring, assessment, and reclassification; 
  • promoting implementation of agricultural water quality practices in high phosphorus loading watersheds by mapping, outreach and implementation of conservation tillage and cover cropping in floodable soils; 
  • protecting river corridors and supporting stream equilibrium by implementing high priority projects identified in River Corridor Plans; 
  • inventorying, prioritization, and implementation of municipal road erosion features that discharge into surface water; 
  • engaging prioritiy communities in stormwater master planning and implementation; 
  • improving lakeshore zone habitat by evaluation, protection, and implementing projects identified in lakewide assessments; 
  • identifying and implementing wetland and floodplain restoration projects; and 
  • increasing understanding of water quality conditions through water quality monitoring.

The Agency has coordinated with two Regional Planning Commissions and two Natural Resource Conservation Districts along with watershed groups to identify and begin to scope and implement projects identified in the plan. Ethan Swift, Watershed Coordinator with the Agency of Natural Resources explains, “Working with the partners has been crucial in spreading the word about new regulatory protections for water quality in the VT Clean Water Act and getting priority projects in motion.”

“Kevin Behm, Addison County Regional Planning Commission Assistant Director comments that “The South Lake Champlain Tactical Basin Plan is an important tool for protecting our valuable water resources. Implementation of the projects identified in the plan will ensure the reduction of phosphorus in Lake Champlain is achieved in a timely manner under the Lake Champlain TMDL and the Vermont Water Quality Standards.”

Hilary Solomon, District Manager for the Poultney Mettowee Conservation District (PMNRCD), shares that "the  South Lake Tactical Basin Plan is where information from all water quality assessments and reports is organized and where project opportunities are shared with the groups working in the Watershed.  All of the PMNRCD projects are listed in the plan, as well as the concerns and issues identified by others.  PMNRCD networks with other partners (state, federal, and private) to implement projects outlined in the plan to protect and restore the heathy waters that flow throughout the region.”

Copies of the draft plan may be obtained on November 18th, 2017, on-line at or by requesting a copy from Ethan Swift by email at or 802-490-6141.  Comments can be directed to Ethan Swift at above email address or by mail at 1 National Life Drive, Main 2, Montpelier VT 05620-3522. Comments will be accepted through end of business day (4:30 pm) on December 18th, 2017. Comments received by this date will be addressed in a responsiveness summary.

June 20, 2014: The South Lake Champlain Tactical Basin Plan is now available for use by stakeholders and the public.

The Tactical Basin Planning process for the Southern Lake Champlain Basin (comprised of the Poultney and Mettowee Rivers, and the Lower Champlain Direct drainages) commenced in 2012 to identify water resource concerns as well as water quality improvement recommendations within the southern Lake Champlain Watershed in Addison and Rutland County, Vermont.  The goal of this tactical basin planning process (for more on the tactical basin planning process, please see Chapter 4 of the Statewide Surface Water Management Strategy) has been to produce a Southern Lake Champlain Watershed Improvement Plan, that identifies high priority actions for the protection and restoration of surface waters in this Basin.  This new Tactical Basin Plan draws from previous efforts identified in the Poultney Mettowee Basin Plan (2005) and the South Lake Workplan (drafted in 2009 and updated in October of 2012).

For more information concerning the Partnership or the water quality management plan for the Southern Lake Champlain Basin contact Angela Allen at 802-490-9081, Vermont DEC Watershed Coordinator.

Basin Specific Reports 

Additional Resources