Water quality is where all of ELPA’s resources, financial and people power are focused.
Echo Lake is considered to have the highest water quality in Vermont. Echo Lake is also milfoil free.
Our goal is to maintain Echo Lake free from invasive species, and to not only maintain water quality, but enhance it. To that end there are a number of activities the association undertakes to achieve the goals: Access Greeter Program, Aquatic Plant Survey, Water Quality Control, Lake Wise, and Blue Lake Buffers.
Preserving and Protecting Our Shores
On July 1, 2014, the Vermont Shoreland Protection Act was enacted to protect water quality, preserve habitat and natural shoreline stability, and protect the economic and recreation benefits of lakes and their shorelines.
The management standards in the Shoreland Protection Act allow lake friendly development and redevelopment proposals to ensure that lakes are protected.
While allowing for lake access and recreational use, the regulation encourages the retention, establishment, and maintenance of vegetative growth to hold the soil, provide shade, and filter and absorb runoff, through the Vegetation Management Standards. The goal of these standards is to maintain the minimum number of trees and shrubs needed to protect the lake and to ensure saplings grow as replacement trees. The Vegetation Management Standards apply to the 100 foot width of shorelend surrounding the lake and use a point system (the same as Maine and New Hampshire) to ensure that each 25 foot by 25 foot section (plot) has a healthy number and size of trees and saplings, and a duff layer (no raking the ground’s cover of decomposing leaves and twigs). For existing development already in this 100 foot lakeshore buffer area, all native plants are now protected by the Shoreland Protection Act and a permit is required to remove them, with the exception of a hazardous tree or an invasive species.
Existing education and outreach programs will continue to be vitally important, in conjunction with the Shoreland Protection Act, to protect Vermont’s lakes. This past year several Echo Lake property owners took advantage of Lake Wise and other programs:
- Lake Wise
- Lakeshore Buffering Program
- Buffers for Blue Lakes
For more information, see The Vermont Shoreland Protection Act on ==> Resources.
Lake Wise is Vermont Agency of Natural Resources state-funded initiative that awards lake-friendly shoreland property that protects the lake water quality and habitat, and assists landowners in working toward that goal. Lakeshore owners at Echo Lake are learning about what’s growing on their lakeshore from native wildflowers to large trees, as well as practices to help control storm water runoff and protect wildlife habitat. By participating in the Lake Wise Program, landowners can have their property assessed for challenging water runoff issues, for help stabilizing an eroding bank, or for improving wildlife habitat. The goal of the Lake Wise Program is to improve the culture of lakeshore landscaping to benefit the lake to keep it safe and clean for years to come.
A property is assessed in four areas: driveway; septic and structures; recreational area; and shorefront. To earn the Lake Wise Award, a property must pass all four sections by showing minimal erosion and a stable, vegetated shorefront and a functioning septic system. The program offers solutions, called Best Management Practices (BMP), that when used will minimize the impact that development has on the lake and help the property earn the Lake Wise Award. The Lake Wise Award sign showcases a property as exemplary in being lake friendly and using excellent landscaping practices.
Twelve lakeshore owners have participated in the Lake Wise Program on Echo Lake, and while some landowners have received certificates for passing two or more of the categories and continue to work on lakeshore Best Management Practices of making rain gardens, re-vegetating shores, or installing water bars in driveways. This year other lakeshore owners have earned the Award.
Look for the beautiful Lake Wise Award sign to indicate what outstanding lakeshore development looks like at Echo Lake or along another Vermont lake, such as Seymour Lake, where property owners have started to practice Lake Wise living and earn the Award sign. Lake Associations with 15 percent awarded participation in the Lake Wise Program will receive the Gold Lake Wise Award.
To learn more about being Lake Wise and the shoreland technical assistance provided through this program, visit the Agency of Natural Resources Lake Wise web site ==> Resources.
To arrange for an evaluation, contact Susan Czerepak from Echo Lake at SCzerepak@echolakeassociation.net, or Amy Picotte from the Agency of Natural Resources at Amy.Picotte@state.vt.us.