Otter Creek

10/17/2019
BRANDON — The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is taking public comment on its 2019 Draft Otter Creek Tactical Basin Plan. The agency seeks public feedback on the plan at an informational meeting in Brandon next week and will take written or electronic comment through Nov. 8. The plan covers portions of Bennington, Rutland and Addison counties and all lakes, rivers and wetlands within the Otter Creek, Little Otter Creek and Lewis Creek watersheds. The plan provides an assessment of the health of the basin and identifies 55 water quality strategies across the following sectors: agriculture...
09/19/2019
In the third of a three-part series examining the historic and current role of the Otter Creek in Addison County, and its current status as the heaviest conveyor of phosphorus pollution into Lake Champlain, we turn a sympathetic ear to the burden placed on farmers by Act 64.  In previous installments, we’ve been reminded that the deteriorating quality of the water in Lake Champlain has been a long time coming. From the early days of commercial, industrial and agricultural development, the Otter Creek has been a conduit for groundwater pollution as have almost all rivers and streams in...

COWS MEANDER THROUGH a pasture next to Otter Creek on the 410-acre Kayhart-Chalker Farm, home of Kayhart’s Homegrown Meats, in New Haven. Independent photo/Steve James
09/19/2019
This is Part III in a three-part series. Alongside pressures like falling milk prices and increasing production costs, farmers are charged with the financial, physical and emotional task of remediating Otter Creek’s water quality. What does this mean for Addison County farmers, and is their burden a fair one? On Route 17 in New Haven, about a dozen miles upstream from where the Otter Creek empties into Lake Champlain, a small farm sits on a hillside. Cows graze in its grassy fields with a backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains. The creek winds past the barn and snakes between its pastures, so...
09/19/2019
About this series:   Week 1 (Sept. 5) — The Otter Creek, Vermont’s longest river, runs through the state’s most heavily cultivated land, and thereby contributes more non-point source phosphorus pollution to Lake Champlain than any other source in Vermont, New York or Quebec. In this segment, we’ll look at the development of this problem and its potential solutions. Read Part I, "The Otter Creek's legacy is commerce -- and pollution."   Week 2 (Sept. 12) — Vermont’s Clean Water Act (2015) has established regulatory and incentive-driven programs to address the web of nuanced water quality...

THE OTTER CREEK sends a plume of sediment into Lake Champlain after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. The sediment contained nutrient-rich runoff from Otter Creek’s 936-square-mile basin. Photo courtesy of Lake Champlain Basin Program
09/12/2019
This is Part II in a three-part series. Vermont’s Clean Water Act (2015) has established regulatory and incentive-driven programs to address the web of nuanced water quality issues in the state. Here, we’ll discuss the Clean Water Act as it applies to the Otter Creek basin, and dive into the assembly of Otter Creek’s 2019 basin plan, which becomes available to the public on October 1. On the fourth floor of a downtown building in Rutland, several blocks from where the Otter Creek twists through the city, Angie Allen stares into the depths of a computer screen. She’s looking at a map of the...

VOLUNTEERS FOR THE Addison County River Watch Collaborative on May 1 sample the Lemon Fair River, a tributary to the Otter Creek, for phosphorus, nitrogen, E. coli and turbidity. The Collaborative’s data is used to educate towns about the quality of nearby streams and rivers, and it is sometimes used in the Tactical Basin Planning process. Independent photo/Emma Cotton
09/12/2019
ADDISON COUNTY — At 7:15 a.m. on May 1, a member of the Addison County River Watch Collaborative stretched a long pole with a plastic cylinder into the water of the Lemon Fair River, a tributary to the Otter Creek that runs through Orwell, Shoreham, Cornwall and Weybridge. Later that day, the sample was sent off to a lab, where it was tested for concentrations of phosphorus, nitrogen, E. coli and turbidity. The collaborative samples the Otter Creek and its tributaries on the first day of every month, excluding winter. Their water quality data is the some of the most consistent and thorough in...

THE OTTER CREEK empties into Lake Champlain in Ferrisburgh. Independent photo/Emma Cotton
09/05/2019
This is Part I in a three-part series. The Otter Creek, Vermont’s longest river, runs through the state’s most heavily cultivated land, and thereby contributes more non-point source phosphorus pollution to Lake Champlain than any other source in Vermont, New York or Quebec. In this segment, we’ll look at the development of this problem and its potential solutions.  ADDISON COUNTY — Water connects. In dew drops, rain storms, snowmelt, the flick of a garden hose, it gathers small pieces of every living and non-living thing it touches. Tiny streams in every backyard find downward paths into each...
09/05/2019
Thirty years ago, the Addison Independent reported and published a multi-part series on Lake Champlain water quality and how it was being negatively impacted by phosphorous run-off from agricultural and non-farm pollution. The story, which was written by Steven Rosenfeld, reported that if the state took immediate action to remedy the problem the lake might avoid serious consequences, but if no action were taken, such neglect would contribute towards its demise. Thirty years later, the state is finally pursuing a quantifiable plan to reduce what has been a growing amount of phosphorus...

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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100