Riverbend Region

Updated Water Resources chapter - 2007

1997 Connecticut River Corridor Management Plan

RECOMMENDATIONS

The recommendations offered below were reached on a consensus basis in 1992-1997 by the diverse membership of the Riverbend Subcommittee.


FEDERAL AGENCIES

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should:

  • ensure participation by local communities and citizens in the relicensing of Fifteen Mile Falls

Federal Emergency Management Agency should:

  • maintain accurate, up-to-date flood plain maps

USDA should:

  • support continued or enhanced funding for Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • reinstate former funding levels for the Cooperative Extension Service, which provides a key education function for area farmers
  • provide cost-sharing for conservation practices, including construction of manure storage pits to help farmers to protect water quality

Natural Resources Conservation Service should:

  • provide assistance for costs of soil testing for better nutrient management
  • encourage area farmers and other landowners to participate in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program of the 1996 Farm Bill
  • check to be sure that soil maps are up to date
  • identify those lands which are potentially productive but are not now being used, so they could be targeted for new agricultural or forestry production, including voluntary production programs for wildlife

Cooperative Extension Service should:

  • focus its efforts upon farm needs so that this key element of the agricultural community is not ignored in favor of homeowners

SeaGrant Program should:

  • provide education for visitors, boat owners and waterfront property owners about zebra mussel

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should:

  • examine the present distribution and extent of Connecticut River populations of dwarf wedge mussel to determine if it still warrants inclusion on the endangered species list

STATE AGENCIES should:

  • ensure that taxation policy encourages agriculture
  • retain the current use program in New Hampshire and strengthen it in Vermont
  • find ways to reduce costs of workmen's compensation for loggers

Water Quality agencies should:

  • avoid construction of additional dams and further impoundment of the river
  • monitor for toxic substances in water, fish, and sediments, undertake water quality sampling, and monitor the health of aquatic biological communities to get a better picture of water quality
  • use data generated by dam relicensing to set more stringent quality standards where achievable
  • follow up on water quality violations
  • enforce best/acceptable management practices
  • look more closely at the effects of nutrient enrichment and water level changes on river life forms
  • form partnership to purchase the breached Wyoming Dam site and keep it undeveloped for the water quality benefits it provides to the river
  • Vermont assist in eliminating combined sewer overflow in St. Johnsbury at the wastewater treatment facility
  • enforce regulations respecting land application of biosolids, sludge, and septage
  • encourage use of vegetative stabilization if bank stabilization is deemed appropriate on eroding banks; minimize the use of riprap and other hard solutions where possible
  • educate landowners and public on stewardship, erosion, and the value of forested riparian buffers
  • support the present permitting process and guidelines for gravel removal, dredge, and fill activities in New Hampshire RSA 483
  • discourage impacts upon wetlands

Fish and Game/Wildlife agencies should:

  • examine the impact of water level fluctuations on the fisheries through the relicensing of Fifteen Mile Falls.
  • obtain realistic constraints on minimum and maximum water levels in each impoundment.
  • focus on effective and broad practical efforts to benefit multiple fisheries, such as walleye stocking and habitat improvement, rather than passage for anadromous fish at Fifteen Mile Falls.
  • expand fish stocking to include walleyed pike, landlocked salmon, and lake trout provided they can coexist with existing species
  • examine fish tissue for contamination by heavy metals and parasitism
  • develop and continually evaluate three year plans for fisheries management, and formally communicate them to their agencies across the river
  • plan public boating access to avoid increasing erosion on sensitive shorelines; the design of boating access ramps should avoid inviting boats which can create wakes which could erode riverbanks or travel consistently faster than the width of the river allows under current law
  • construct access for canoes at Guildhall at the bridge, with takeout at the Lancaster Bridge, and at Barnet
  • provide education on habitat and stewardship for local conservation and planning commissions, outfitters, citizens, landowners and develop information for visitors on low impact visitor etiquette
  • provide financial incentives to landowners for measures taken to enhance habitat on their land
  • work with farmers toward integrating seasonal and year-round farm activity with wildlife habitat needs; look at both where and when farm work is done to minimize conflict with wildlife when possible
  • assist local businesses in developing tourism oriented around the region's wildlife
  • lease or purchase development rights on important habitat if the landowner is interested
  • the Natural Heritage Inventory program should ensure that management decisions are based on good science and not upon old data or hearsay
  • discourage fishermen from using lead sinkers and discarding monofilament and other debris
  • work with New England Power Company and its successors to install osprey nesting platforms at appropriate locations on Moore and Comerford reservoirs; assist NEP to manage its extensive riverfront lands appropriately for wildlife

Agriculture departments should:

  • seek right of first refusal on purchase of farm in exchange for working farm tax abatement
  • encourage banks to develop socially responsible investment programs that promote local agriculture and forest-based economy
  • provide assistance with bank stabilization where appropriate to protect farms from loss of prime soils and to protect water quality
  • assist with more and better marketing
  • cooperate together for agriculture in the Connecticut River Valley as a single region
  • develop a regional identity for Connecticut River Valley products from both sides of the river
  • help establish a regional farmers' market
  • acknowledge the contribution of part-time or hobby farmers in keeping land open and beautiful, and encourage education of these farmers

Tourism offices should:

  • develop information for visitors on low impact visitor etiquette, including proper driving habits and parking procedures for moose watching

Transportation agencies should:

  • review herbicide spraying program for rights of way near waterways, and consider alternatives

Department of Safety should:

  • enforce existing laws on boating and water skiing and find ways to educate the public about these laws
  • establish a required boater safety course in New Hampshire
  • limit area of use of high speed, high powered boats and water skiing

Historic Resources agencies should:

  • direct funding towards projects which are meaningful to local people
  • encourage towns to take advantage of the Certified Local Government grant program in both Vermont and New Hampshire to provide funds for locally inspired historic projects
  • help develop heritage tourism in the region
  • educate local owners of historic barns about the Vermont "Barn Again!" program to assist in restoration/rehabilitation of historic barns
  • protect archeological sites where appropriate through bank stabilization
  • retain historic covered bridges and provide educational signs for visitors and residents; establish fund for maintenance of historic bridges
  • address need for greater cooperation between state archeology offices and local people
  • provide education for town officials and homeowners on historic resources

TOWNS should:

  • consider how to guide development near the river
  • discourage construction of new public boat ramps serving large horsepower boats, in order to minimize bank erosion
  • identify extent of inadequate sewage disposal problem, especially among seasonal homes converted to year-round use; inspect septic systems before they are completed; educate home buyers and real estate agents
  • review all new roadways, lanes, bicycle paths, etc. to include a buffer of vegetation of water shading and pollution filtering
  • participate in the relicensing of Fifteen Mile Falls
  • learn about plants, animals, and habitats of concern within the town
  • encourage cooperation between private landowners and non-profit organizations which can help in preserving/maintaining natural communities
  • support the maintenance of natural features along the river and discourage disturbance of wetlands; allow natural development of new wetlands
  • encourage road agents to use vegetative bank stabilization where appropriate and minimize use of riprap and other "hard" solutions where bank erosion is a problem
  • develop management plans for town-owned conservation areas

LANDOWNERS should:

  • follow current laws and existing permitting procedures
  • follow best/acceptable management practices for agriculture and timber harvesting
  • learn about stewardship, erosion, and the value of riparian buffers
  • be encouraged to benefit fisheries and water quality by establishing or retaining riparian buffers, which filter out sediment and nutrients washing off the land. Trees and vegetation help stabilize the banks and keep waters cooler. Vegetated buffers also provide privacy and habitat for insect-eating birds which help control forest insect outbreaks
  • support the maintenance of natural features along the river including vegetated buffers
  • look into benefits of participating in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program of 1996 Farm Bill
  • minimize the aesthetic and water quality impacts of heavy cutting and other timber harvesting operations, particularly near the river; dispose of slash away from streams and out of public view; recognize that there is a public relations value to good forest management on forest land, maintain forested riparian buffers; the appropriate depth for a buffer depends upon soil conditions, slope, and tree species
  • avoid disturbing wetlands
  • consider deer yards and den trees when planning or conducting logging operations
  • consider the potential impact of herbicides on the river
  • learn to recognize species of concern
  • avoid planting purple loosestrife in gardens and introducing other exotics

Farmers should:

  • use filter or protection strips more consistently to keep sediment and nutrients from leaving agricultural lands and washing into waterways
  • consider practicing no/low till cultivation; keep soil covered throughout the year to reduce erosion
  • practice grazing and crop rotation, and maintain diversity above and below the soil surface
  • rotate corn frequently with other crops, particularly on flood-prone land
  • seek assistance from Farm Services Agency for manure holding facilities and fencing to keep livestock out of waterways
  • become more aware of estate tax issues and seek advice on estate planning
  • make more and better use of soil testing
  • seek information on the potential benefits of conservation easements
  • investigate potentially profitable diversified agriculture
  • conduct on-farm research to show the viability of crop diversity
  • educate the non-farm community about the value of local agriculture

BUSINESS COMMUNITY should:

  • support tourism based on enjoyment of the natural resources of the area
  • consider a multi-community cooperative approach to developing heritage tourism
  • prepare and distribute information on lodging and attractions
  • assist with appropriate literature for visitors interested in natural history

New England Power Company and its successors should:

  • keep Moore Reservoir undeveloped and rural
  • maintain open communication with the public about the management of Moore Reservoir and surrounding lands
  • consider designating different areas of Moore Reservoir for different uses; set aside more areas for quiet, low-impact use; limit use of high-speed, high-powered boats and water skiing to limited and preselected areas on Moore and Comerford reservoirs to help reduce boat wake-induced erosion and to improve safety
  • control traffic by off-road recreational vehicles on the earth fill at Moore Dam
  • work with the Littleton Fire Department to provide a small boat, lines, and life preservers with proper security, for both summer and ice rescue
  • organize boat access sites better by installing signage and designating parking areas
  • gather data on the impact of water level fluctuations on the fisheries and impoundment erosion, and modify operations accordingly
  • consider the timing of fish spawning when managing water level fluctuations
  • continue to be aware of its key stewardship role and cooperate with natural resource agencies and organizations for good habitat management
  • continue to patrol the Moore Reservoir area to discourage vandalism, littering, and damage to the shoreline and vegetation

Railroads and Utilities should:

  • review the herbicide spraying program for rights of way near waterways; consider alternatives

CITIZENS AND LOCAL CITIZEN GROUPS should:

  • participate in the relicensing of Fifteen Mile Falls
  • petition the State of New Hampshire Department of Safety Services' Marine Patrol to consider a horsepower limit for the river above Gilman Dam, due to the depth and width of the river here, in order to provide for river recreation that is safe for boaters, their boats, and for the river and erodible banks
  • aid in policing the Moore Reservoir area by calling authorities when an incident occurs, not after the fact
  • take more formalized responsibility for cleaning up trash at Moore boat access areas
  • participate in the Scenic Byway Study to be certain that it is responsive to their area's interests and concerns and provides their towns with the information they will find most useful; work with North Country Council and Northeast Vermont Development Association

NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS should:

  • provide educational programs for residents and visitors about local wildlife and habitat
  • participate in partnerships with natural resource agencies and interested landowners

Farm Bureaus should:

  • encourage young people to enter farming
  • encourage good stewardship by landowners

Historical Societies should:

  • educate their fellow citizens about local history and how it relates to the Connecticut River
  • consider writing and publishing histories of their town and conducting oral history interviews
  • review information on sites and features of historic and archeological significance in each town, in conjunction with Scenic Byway Study
  • encourage media to carry regular stories featuring the history of area towns
  • provide education for town officials, students, homeowners on historic resources