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Vermont DEC Visits Lake St. Catherine For Lake Wise Assessments

Vermont DEC Officials visit Lake St. Catherine to learn of the great efforts homeowners have made to control runoff on their properties.

August 26th was an exciting day at the Lake, as we hosted Amy Picotte from Vermont DEC and most of the staff of the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District, who met with the first group of property owners along Lake St. Catherine to participate in the Lake Wise program.

The spring of 2019 was a particularly difficult one, with several storms that overwhelmed culverts and roads surrounding the Lake. It certainly brought attention to the role we all play in protecting the Lake from sediment and an overabundance of phosphorus that fuels milfoil and, potentially, toxic algae growth.

To recognize the good works of local Lake residents, the DEC has a program, called Lake Wise, that assesses lakeshore properties and recognizes optimum management for water quality through an award. If your shoreline qualifies, based on the assessment criteria, a LakeWise plaque is awarded to the property owner. If additional actions are needed, the Lake Wise program serves as a free assessment and consultation.

The Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District has been providing the assessments for Lake St. Catherine homeowners. They then work with partners and write grants, receiving funds to provide shoreline plantings, raingarden installation, and other implementation projects aimed at improving water quality in the lake. These programs, the Lake Education and Action Program (LEAP) for example, can be utilized after a Lake Wise consultation to help implement recommendations from the assessment.

It is so encouraging that there is a great deal of interest in becoming a Lake Wise property. If you would like to join in with local residents to have your property assessed, just contact us at: [email protected]. The LSCA is eager to have recognition for those of you who have added buffer zones, no mow zones, fertilizer-free lawns, infiltration steps, water-absorbent gardens and other creative ways to reduce runoff into our precious Lake. We hope you will consider becoming a LakeWise site and encourage your neighbors to do likewise. We look forward to hearing from you!

Photo participants, from left to right: Sadie Brown - Nursery Manager. Martha Hicks Pofit - Vice President of LSCA, Amy Picotte - Environmental Scientist - Vermont DEC, Hilary Solomon - Manager of PMNRCD, Ashley Leemans - PMNRCD staff

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