Observer staff report
Construction on a grant-funded project intended to address erosion and stream water quality issues caused by stormwater at Oneida Acres is set to begin in the spring.
The engineering work and designs are currently underway for a combination of bioswales—similar to depressed rain gardens—and check dams to slow, treat and redirect stormwater away from the section of the neighborhood near Sharon Drive, where there is active erosion.
Town staff is currently looking for $15,000 in funding for Phase II of the project, which involves working “with landowners in other parts of the neighborhood to implement green stormwater infrastructure practices to help slow and reduce stormwater runoff from their roofs and driveways,” said Jessica Demar, senior environmental planner for the town of Williston.
Earlier this year, Williston received a $75,000 grant from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Ecosystem Restoration Program to complete a town-wide Watershed Improvement Plan. The town contracted with Stone Environmental, which identified and assessed more than 100 water quality “problem areas” across Williston, evaluating each and allowing for comparison.
Part of the plan involved developing a prioritization matrix, intended to help town staff direct resources to high priority projects. The matrix ranked areas based on constructability, ease of operation, anticipated pollutant abatement and environmental priority—impact on the nearest receiving water, how realistic it is to fix the problem, whether environmental issues besides water quality were impacted and more.
The matrix identified the top 30 problem areas. From those problem areas, town staff and the Selectboard selected the Oneida Acres project—which ranked at number six in the prioritization matrix—as the project that best met the goals of the grant.
The grant’s goals included addressing active erosion often caused by excess stormwater and identifying stormwater treatment practices and retrofits that will reduce sediment loads delivered to Williston’s streams, resulting in improved stream quality.
The final report from the Watershed Improvement Plan is available online at http://tinyurl.com/m2hed4s. For more information, email jdemar@will[email protected]