The Friends of Northern Lake Champlain (FNLC) is a non-profit organization that acts to clean the waters of northern Lake Champlain and its watershed by working collaboratively with citizens, businesses, farmers, and government to reduce land-use pollution.
Our focus is to increase implementation and to encourage local, state, and federal funding necessary to obtain real results. There can be no improvement in Lake Champlain water quality without the on-the-ground projects that improve the waters flowing into the Lake.
FNLC has also continued work on all the projects detailed below in the 2020 Annual Report.
Each September, FNLC, partner watershed organizations, government, water and soil quality groups, and the Saint Albans Museum present shoreside STEAM educational outreach to local school students in grades four and eight.
Lake Lessons educates nearly 600 students from St. Albans Town and City, Swanton, and Georgia, plus faculty, and parents on stormwater management and lake water quality.
Deer Brook Gully Remediation
FNLC completed Phase 1 to study and design eight gravel swale improvement projects for the Deer Brook Gully Restoration along Route 7 in Georgia, VT.
Over the next few years, FNLC will collaborate with VTrans and private landowners to complete the eight gravel swale projects. These projects will serve as a solution to a significant sediment contributor to Deer Brook.
A two-fold approach, the projects:
- protect the state’s water quality
- support FNLC’s goal to correct the highest priority project
determined in the 2013 Stormwater Report for the Town of Georgia.
Working with Agricultural Partners
FNLC maintains its long working relationship and respect for Vermont farms. Farms are assigned water quality improvement projects by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Marketing (VAAFM) inspectors.
FNLC has completed its four-year North Lake Priority Farms contract to help small farms through financial procurement and construction of new water quality projects. The most recent example was the completion of a barnyard stormwater/silage leachate management project on a middle-sized dairy farm in Swanton, VT.
For a decade, FNLC has been collecting water samples on the Rock River in Highgate and aided in developing one of the most comprehensive datasets for an isolated watershed.
Each February and August, FNLC hosts the Winter and Summer Farm Meetings with UVM Extension, and the Farmer’s Watershed Alliance to bring new field techniques and technologies information to local farms. This meeting is a prime opportunity for farmers and landowners to see first-hand the best management practices (BMPs) by good conservation farms in the water basin.
Two-tiered Ditch Project
The Bouchard Ditch in Highgate/Franklin is a two-tiered ditch created to prevent flooding in a field on the Bouchard Farm by mimicking a natural floodplain. During high flow events, the water flow was restricted to the ditch area and slowed to improve absorption in the designated area.
The monitoring of this project began in 2019. It will continue for the next five years to collect valuable data to share with Vermont farmers. By monitoring this pilot project, we may know how many pollutants this ditch is keeping out of Lake Champlain.
Rain Gardens & Rain Barrels (Green Stormwater Infrastructure)
In 2019, FNLC won a grant to design and install either rain gardens or rain barrels at three area schools.
- Georgia Elementary & Middle School
- BFA Fairfax
- Alburgh Elementary School
These projects tie together BMPs and STEM education for educators, students, and the community. Each education center project is in progress with completion expected summer 2020.
Working with Community Partners
Through our cooperative grant with NRPC plus St. Albans City and Town planners, FNLC ECO AmeriCorps member-led volunteer community clean up events, such as Green Up Day and April Stools Day.
Currently, this member is working on a project to install rain gardens or maintain rain gardens within city limits.
Educational Fundraisers and Athletic Events
Many thanks to the public for participating in FNLC’s athletic and education fundraising events. We combine meeting with statewide lake leaders, legislators, state and federal agency leaders, and FNLC members in community-oriented social settings of the Bike for the Lake, Run for the Lake, and the Tyler Place Dinner & Fundraiser.
Thank you for your continued support!
Photos courtesy of Karen Fortin, April Henderson, and volunteers.