WATER QUALITY COUNCILS

Members of the BWQCs serve as policy makers and top level “prioritizers.”  They are not the only actors when it comes to prioritizing, but they are crucial ones. BWQCs will direct funds to where they can have the greatest impact.  BWQCs will also participate in the basin planning process. BWQCs will initially consist of nine members each, selected as follows:  

  • two persons representing Natural Resource Conservation districts;

  • two persons representing Regional Planning Commissions;

  • two persons representing local watershed protection organizations;

  • one representative from an applicable local or statewide land conservation organization; and

  • two persons representing municipalities within the basin.

 

Identification of those who will serve on BWQCs should be complete by late January or February. In terms of the time commitment BWQC members must make, BWQCs will meet quarterly, although more frequent meetings probably should be expected as the body gets started and deals with organizational mattera.  BWQC members should also expect to read not-insignificant amounts of material before and after meetings.

 

BWQCs will receive support from a staff. This staff, which is employed by the Clean Water Service Provider (CWSP), is obligated to pursue projects that will help meet the phosphorous reduction targets that grow out of the Lake Champlain TMDL. 

 

Act 76 also spells out what CWSPs are meant to do with respect to projects.  For example, 

 

"(5) When selecting clean water projects for implementation or funding, a clean water service provider shall prioritize projects identified in the basin plan for the area where the project is located and shall consider the pollutant targets provided by the Secretary and the recommendations of the basin water quality council.
(b) Project identification, prioritization, selection. When identifying, prioritizing, and selecting a clean water project to meet a pollutant reduction value, the clean water service provider shall consider the pollution reduction value associated with the clean water project, the co-benefits provided by the project, operation, and maintenance of the project, conformance with the tactical basin plan, and other water quality benefits beyond pollution reduction associated with that clean water project. All selected projects shall be entered into the watershed projects database."