Vegetative shore land buffers located along lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, and ponds are the single most effective protection for water quality, lake ecosystems, and essential wildlife habitat. These strips of ground covers, shrubs, and trees serve as transitional areas, where land and water meet to create unique and highly productive ecosystems. The canopy created by trees, shrubs and herbaceous vegetation moderates the impact of heavy rains, shades the shoreline to reduce water temperature, and produces organic matter and woody debris essential to shallow-water ecology. Root systems give soil structure, hold soil in place, direct rainfall down into the soil instead of over the soil, and can extract nutrients and contaminates from the soil. The abundance of water and the diversity of plant communities in vegetaged buffers help support a variety of aquatic and terrestrial life. They also provide valuable social, economic and environmental benefits.
The Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds (FOVLAP) is a group of local lake and pond associations, individuals and others interested in promoting and maintaining the quality of the environment of, and the pleasure of living near and using Vermont’s lakes and ponds. This federation, with the support the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, offers two programs to protect our shores.
The Blueberry Project encourages the planting of blueberry bushes along our shores to help create healthy shallow water ecosystems. This year the Echo Lake Protective Association, working in coordination with Spates Florist in Newport, is making blueberry bushes available at discounted prices for its membership.
The Lakescaping Project is a new grant-funded program that focuses on lake friendly best practices such as no mow zones, best practice paths and steps, and landscaping that benefits shoreland and lake health. This program provides $1,000 per property for landscape designs, plants, infiltration step and water bar materials, and installation services supplied by the Vermont Youth Conservation Corp. The homeowner contributes $250. This project is managed by FOVLAP Board member, Judy Davis, Amy Picotte, Lakeshore Manager with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Water Management Division, and Eddie Haynes, the Lake Wise Assistant, who worked closely with these projects to ensure they met a lakeshore Best Management Practice. (All the Lake Wise lakeshore BMPs are scientifically based and these practices effectively protect the lake.)
Last summer two Echo Lake property owners participated in the FOVLAP Lakescaping program:
- Elaine Carpenter – Received a grant to revegetate her slope with winterberry, sweet gale, blueberries and some perennials. — “We LOVE the work you did! … Thanks for all you did to make this happen. We are happy campers, for sure! “
- Brian and Maggie Trehearne received a grant to install infiltration steps to help with the water runoff from their steep slope and revegetation of part of their back lawn, with the exception of the leach field. — “I’m thrilled with everything! The planted slope looks beautiful, the trees and shrubs over near the hedge already seem to have been there for years, and the steps look (and feel) fantastic. Thanks so much again to the crew and to all involved!”
For more information, see http://vermontlakes.org/. If you, or someone you know, would like to learn about or enroll in this program, please contact Susan Czerepak at email@example.com or Amy Picotte of the Agency of Natural Resources at Amy.Picotte@state.vt.us. Applications should be made in the summer or fall for the following year