December 21, 2014

Town asks for help improving water quality

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Town staff is hoping to engage landowners in its effort to improve Williston’s water quality.

The town is set to send out approximately 300 letters to Williston landowners who may be infringing upon the town’s watershed protection buffers, an ordinance passed in 2005. Town Planner Jessica Andreoletti said many property owners might not be aware of the bylaws.

The Allen Brook has been on the state’s list of impaired waterways for years for both elevated levels of E. Coli and biological impairments and Muddy Brook is listed for toxins, nutrients and temperature.

Watershed buffers—protective strips of land along streams and around wetlands—slow stormwater runoff, filter toxins out of stormwater and create habitats for fish and bugs.

Leaving the landscape alone within the buffers goes a long way toward improving water quality, Andreoletti said.

The town also hopes to avoid outdoor storage, use of fertilizers and pesticides and hobby farming such as keeping chickens within the buffer.

“While the landscaping activates on your property may have been in motion well before these buffer requirements were adopted in 2005, the town hopes that you will stop mowing and fertilizing within the buffers for the sake of improving water quality in our town,” the letters reads.

Watershed protection buffers are set at 150 feet from any named stream—including the Allen, Muddy and Sucker brooks, as well as the Winooski River. Buffers are set at 50 feet of unnamed streams are class 2 wetlands, and 25 feet from unnamed wetlands.

Andreoletti said the town hopes everyone will do their part to help improve water quality.

“We’re not going to be able to get these streams off the 303d of impaired waters unless we get a little help from everyone,” she said.

For more information, contact Andreoletti at [email protected]

— Stephanie Choate,
Observer staff

 
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