CLEAN WATER SERVICE PROVIDER
The Northwest Regional Planning Commission has been selected by Vermont’s Department of Environmental Conservation to serve as the “Clean Water Service Provider” (also known as CWSP) for two major watersheds in Vermont, the Missisquoi and the Lamoille. As a CWSP, NRPC will play a pivotal role in the implementation of Vermont’s Clean Water Service Delivery Act (also known as Act 76). Act 76 provides funding and “a project delivery framework” to improve water quality in the state.
Much of the available funding will be used to implement “non-regulatory” projects. Non-regulatory projects include: “green infrastructure” stormwater practices; conservation initiatives on farm and forestland; and natural resource restoration projects. Such restoration projects can include conservation easements, wetland and floodplain restoration, and tree and shrub plantings along riparian areas.
Act 76 also emphasizes the need to achieve phosphorous reduction targets set for each watershed. New policy bodies known as Basin Water Quality Councils (BWQCs) will play a key role in this effort by setting priorities. NRPC’s CWSP will help form the BWQC and partner with it to identify, implement, operate, and maintain projects.
Act 76 calls for project funding to be distributed to CWSPs by formula. Significantly, the formula is based on phosphorus reduction targets—which recognize the severity of water quality problems in different locations—and standardized costs—which recognize that the “unit cost” of phosphorus reduction varies by project type.
Interim phosphorus reduction targets are under development and will be published in 2022. These will include phosphorus reduction targets for the Lake Champlain TMDL, other impaired waters in Vermont, and the two major watersheds that are the focus of the NRPC’s CWSP.
For more information, please contact Dean Pierce at (802) 524-5958 or by email: DPierce at nrpcvt.com.