Stream threats detailed
Staff Report | December 17,2006
As the Vermont legislature prepares for its upcoming session, Trout Unlimited has issued a report that highlights a topic high on the legislative agenda: depletion of state water resources.
"We have always taken our free-flowing streams and rivers for granted," said Ron Rhodes, a South Pomfret-based member of Trout Unlimited's National Leadership Council. "But this new report makes clear that we need to take serious steps now to make sure our coldwater streams and rivers have enough water."
Trout Unlimited's new report, "A Glass Half Full: The Future of Water in New England," highlights the growing problem of water withdrawals throughout the region. As the population grows and expands beyond its urban centers, that development places new and significant pressures on small headwater streams.
"Dozens of Vermont streams regularly experience low flows," said Rhodes.
"That's bad news for the fisheries, as well as the communities that enjoy the benefits of those streams and rely on them for drinking water."
Last legislative session, the state passed its first groundwater protection law (H.294), which established an interim permitting process for some large-scale groundwater withdrawals and created a committee to address the growing concerns over these water quantity issues.
Today's new report includes a set of specific policy recommendations intended to provide guidance for state laws and policies governing withdrawals, water use and stream flow requirements.
"The current patchwork of state laws and policies does not protect our water resources," said Kirt Mayland, director of TU's Eastern Water Project. "We hope to see several related bills come before the legislature this session, and we look forward to working with policy makers as they update the state's laws and policies to respond to this growing problem."
The full report is available at www.tu.org/easternwater.