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A New Approach to Stream Health in the Lake Champlain Basin

Posted on Tuesday, June 28th, 2022 | Posted in Lake Champlain, News

Stream Wise logo and a scenic riverMeet Stream Wise: a new program that works to bring neighbors together to protect and restore healthy waterways across the Lake Champlain region. The goal of the program is to educate and engage streamside property owners to enhance and protect vegetated stream buffers on their land. Stream buffers provide increased flood resiliency and benefit water quality and habitat.

The program equips partners, such as watershed organizations, conservation districts, and other water groups, with a variety of tools, resources, and messaging to work directly with their local stream communities. Partners conduct outreach to streamside landowners about best practices for stream health and resiliency, perform assessments of stream buffers, and recognize property owners who maintain wide buffers of native plants along their section of river or stream. Stream Wise also showcases a plethora of regional technical resources that are available for property owners and project partners in Québec, New York and Vermont.

“Stream Wise combines an awareness and education campaign with technical resources, and is intended to be a “go-to” stream health and resiliency resource for in the Lake Champlain Watershed,” said Lauren Jenness, NEIWPCC environmental analyst at the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) and project lead. “We wanted to raise awareness throughout the basin with a unified approach, so it was important that the Stream Wise resources include messaging templates and branding for our partners.”

Aerial photo of a Vermont stream with a house nearby.

Aerial photo showing a housing area with various widths of a stream buffer and some erosion. Location is an example of where stream buffer enhancements could be made to achieve a Stream Wise Award. Photo courtesy of Stream Wise.

Stream Wise will pilot this summer with the Ausable River Association, Friends of the Winooski River, Lake Champlain Sea Grant, Organisme de basin versant de la baie Missiquoi, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, and Watersheds United Vermont.

Stream Wise is a project of the LCBP and NEIWPCC.

Learn more about Stream Wise here.