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November / December 2014


In This Issue

December 4, 2014
  • VT Dept of Environmental Conservation Issues Decision on Water Levels at Waterbury Reservoir
  • Our Official Position & Public Comment on the Reservoir's Water Levels
  • We Want YOU! Available Board & Ambassador Positions
  • Updated Open Meeting Schedule
  • The Numbers Are In! 2014 Project Trash Data Study
  • Postcards from the Res'
Friends of Waterbury Reservoir is a Vermont non-profit organization committed to protecting, improving and enhancing the ecological, recreational, and community values of the Waterbury Reservoir. We accomplish this through stewardship, research, community involvement, collaboration with all stakeholders, and connecting people and place. To learn more about our Mission, Vision & Core Values and to Join Us, visit
VT Dept of Environmental Conservation's
Decision on Water Levels at Waterbury Reservoir
Press Release & Related Links
The VT Department of Environmental Conservation issued a draft water quality certification on November 5 regarding the future operations of Green Mountain Power's Waterbury Hydroelectric Project. Under this decision, the Waterbury Reservoir would be maintained at the current summertime level year-round to protect water quality and recreational use of the reservoir. Also, flows through the dam would be managed to more closely mirror the natural flow of the Little River in a manner that improves fish habitat and the ecological health of the river. 

Full Press Release: CLICK HERE
Notice of Completed Application & Public Hearing: CLICK  HERE
Water Quality 401 Certification Public Notice: CLICK HERE
Public Hearing:  Saturday, December 6, 2014, 1:00 to 3:00 at Crossett Brook Middle School, 5672 VT 100, Waterbury
Written Comments: Accepted  until December 6, 2014 at 4:30
Left: Waterbury Dam's three existing tainter gates. Photo taken October 2014 during a tour hosted by DEC's Dam Safety Engineer Steve Bushman.

Below: How Tainter Gates Operate
Friends of Waterbury Reservoir's
Official Position & Formal Public Comment
Submitted to VT Dept of Environmental Conservation
Dear VT Dept of Environmental Conservation:
Please accept this email as the Friends of Waterbury Reservoir's official position and public comment on your Department's decision related to Green Mountain Power's Water Quality Certification for their operation of the hydro-electric facility at the Waterbury Dam and the maintenance of year-round water levels in the Reservoir.
Consistent with the Friends of Waterbury Reservoir’s Mission, Vision, and Core Values, and after considerable research and consultation with experts, we support the maintenance of the Reservoir’s average year-round water level at so-called ‘summertime level’ of an average of 589.5 feet, with adjustments made as required and appropriate as determined by the agencies and officers who are responsible for making decisions regarding flood prevention and mitigation.

It is our understanding that Green Mountain Power has applied to renew its license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to generate power at the Little River Hydro-Electric Facility located at the Waterbury Dam. Under the federal Clean Water Act, the Agency of Natural Resources must certify that the hydro operation will meet Vermont's state water quality standards. The current operation does not meet those standards for either the Reservoir itself or the Little River below the dam as river levels vary widely and rapidly, which negatively impacts habitat for fish and other wildlife and degrading water quality in both the Waterbury Reservoir and the Little River. The Reservoir's water level is currently drawn down from about 40 feet during the winter, which prevents the establishment of healthy littoral or shoreline vegetation and habitat.
We understand the State’s proposed solution to be:

1. The method of power generation must be changed so it allows for a more natural flow in the Little River. For these flows to become a reality, Green Mountain Power must make turbine upgrades.

2. The Reservoir would be maintained at the summer level year round. However, this cannot happen until the dam's aging flood gates are replaced which is unlikely to occur until 2019 or later. A combination of Federal and State funding to total approximately $40 million will be required.
The Friends of Waterbury Reservoir is publicly and assertively encouraging the Reservoir community to continue to be informed on this issue, and to actively participate in this public process including submission of written or verbal comments on or before December 6, 2014, as required.
The Friends of Waterbury Reservoir is a Vermont non-profit organization committed to protecting, improving and enhancing the ecological, recreational, and community values of the Waterbury Reservoir. We accomplish this through stewardship, research, community involvement, collaboration with all stakeholders, and connecting people and place.

Laurie Smith, President
We Want YOU!
Friends of Waterbury Reservoir Volunteer Position Openings
Board of Directors:
  • 1 At-Large Member representing motorboat operators
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
Special Teams (Leaders and Members): Ambassadors:
  • Any individual community member who is fully invested in the Mission, Vision, and Core Values of the Friends of Waterbury Reservoir and is willing and able to actively and collaboratively participate in decision-making and stewardship activities.
* Nominations for any Board, Officer, and Ambassador position may be made by any member and are considered by the current President, Board members, and Ambassadors. The organization's Bylaws are available on request.
2014 Trash Data Study on the Res'
Lessons Learned & Next Steps

April 2014
Spring & Summer Projects Kick-off Event

"What you are about to do on the Reservoir has never been done before, or hasn't been shared. This is citizen-led science to inform management (VT State Parks) to make a place better and easier to use. This is an opportunity to serve as a model for other communities around the country. This is an opportunity lead - not just in Vermont, but in the bigger picture. The Rozalia Project is proud to partner with you."


Rachel Miller

Co-Founder & Executive Director

The numbers are in...

Click here 
for team lead Shawn Donovan's full PowerPoint presentation about the 2014 season, trash "hot spots", top 5 items reported, plus lessons learned and next steps.
Above: Trash collected by a team of 2 people in 1 hour at Blush Hill boat access in August.

Left: Howle (age 8), with some micro-foam and a data card near the Cotton Brook data collection pail. "We're figuring out where the trash is and how it go there so we can stop the problem." Such a smart boy!
What's Next? The data collected in 2014 will be a "baseline" for an even more focused effort in 2015. A dedicated cadre of volunteers will be needed next summer. We'll keep you posted via this newsletter and online about how you, your family, social organization, and business can participate.
Open Meeting Schedule Update
The Whole Reservoir Community is Invited & Encouraged to Participate

Wed. 1/21/2015
Wed. 4/15/2015
TBA Summer 2015

6:00-8:00 pm

Green Mountain Club Hiker Center, Waterbury Center

Board & Ambassadors executive sessions will be scheduled separately.

The agenda will be posted online  a week or so before each meeting. The January meeting will include collaboration with VT State Parks about the remote campsites, floating ranger, and other important topics.

Recurring topics include strategic planning, long-term project planning, collaboration with VT State Parks and other stakeholders, and event planning.

Special topics may be introduced at any time, and suggestions from the Reservoir community are welcome and encouraged. Some meetings will include guest speakers. Pre-registration may be requested if we anticipate a full house.
Postcards from the Res
Above: The first snows have fallen on the Cotton Brook Logging Road and lots of hikers, skiers, and snow-bikers are out and about. Remember to pick up after our four-legged trail companions, especially near mountain streams like this one.
Below: Gabe is overlooking the Cotton Brook canoe access from the logging road above.

Enjoy "Reservoir Minute"  videos on FaceBook and YouTube.
Unless otherwise noted, all photos in this newsletter are by Laurie Smith.
Reuse by permission only.
Copyright © 2014 Friends of Waterbury Reservoir, All rights reserved.

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