Who’s Who

in Vermont Lakes and Ponds

Management & Protection

State Entities:

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR)

The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources is responsible for the oversight and management of Vermont’s natural environment on behalf of the people of Vermont. The Agency is led by a secretary who is appointed by the Governor. The Agency is comprised of three departments.  Each department is led by a commissioner who is appointed by the Governor.

Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife logoDepartment of Fish & Wildlife (F&W)

The Department of Fish & Wildlife conserves Vermont’s fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for Vermonters to enjoy. The department includes over 125 biologists, game wardens, educational coordinators and support staff committed to five divisions: Fisheries, Wildlife, Law Enforcement, Outreach and Administration.

Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & RecreationDepartment of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FP&R)

The Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation is responsible for the conservation and management of Vermont’s forest resources, the operation and maintenance of the State Park system, and the promotion and support of outdoor recreation for all. FPR is also responsible for the acquisition, planning coordination and administration of all ANR lands.

Vermont Department of Environmental ConservationDepartment of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

The Department of Environmental Conservation is charged with advancing clean air, clean water and healthy communities. The Department’s 300 staff manage programs to protect water and air quality, regulate solid and hazardous wastes, and administer a number of pollution and waste reduction programs.

Watershed Management Division

Vermont Lakes and Ponds Program

Lakes and Ponds Management and Protection Program

The Lakes and Ponds Management and Protection Program works to protect, maintain, enhance, and restore the health of Vermont lakes and the public uses that healthy lake ecosystems provide through outreach and education, monitoring and assessment, and regulatory programs.

Water Investment Division

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Dam Safety Program (DSP)

The Dam Safety Program regulates non-power, non-federal dams and acts as the owner and operator at 14 State-owned dams. On the regulatory side, the DSP administers State Statute 10 V.S.A. Chapter 43: Dams, managing the Vermont Dam Inventory (VDI) database, a permit program for construction and alteration of dams, an inspection program, an annual registration program, and other related tasks.  The DSP also educates dam owners and the public about dam safety issues.

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Watershed Planning Program

The Watershed Planning Program is charged with developing and implementing watershed management plans, called Tactical Basin Plans, that summarize existing water quality conditions and attainment of surface water uses, with identified priorities for surface water protection and restoration of degraded waters. The Vermont Water Quality Standards as well as Vermont’s Clean Water Act (2015) require the development of Tactical Basin Plans for each of Vermont’s 15 river basins to be adopted on a five-year recurring cycle.

Vermont Clean Water Initiative Program

The Clean Water Initiative Program (CWIP)

The Clean Water Initiative Program (CWIP) in the Department of Environmental Conservation funds, tracks, and reports on priority projects to restore Vermont’s waters, and communicates progress toward meeting water quality restoration targets outlined in the Total Maximum Daily Loads (or TMDLs). CWIP also coordinates funding, tracking, and reporting of clean water efforts for federal and state partners, including Clean Water Initiative partner state agencies – the  Agencies of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, Commerce and Community Development, Natural Resources, and Transportation – and the Lake Champlain Regional Conservation Partnership Program of the Natural Resources Conservation Service. In addition, CWIP offers technical expertise in stormwater master planning, illicit discharge detection and elimination, and green infrastructure.

Vermont Clean Water BoardThe Clean Water Board

The Clean Water Board, part of the Clean Water Initiative Program (CWIP), makes recommendations for how state Clean Water Funding is allocated.  The board is comprised of representation from five state agency secretaries: Administration; Agriculture, Food and Markets; Commerce and Community Development; Natural Resources; and Transportation. In addition, four members of the public are appointed by the Governor.  Information on Clean Water Board meetings, including agendas, minutes, and recordings can be found here.  You can subscribe to the Clean Water Listserv to receive notices of meetings and other information here.

Clean Water Service Provider LogoClean Water Service Providers (CWSPs)

Clean Water Service Providers were selected by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation as part of the implementation of the Clean Water Service Delivery Act (Act 76) enacted in 2019. This act provides funding and a project delivery framework to improve water quality in the Lake Champlain and Memphremagog basins aimed at achieving the phosphorus TMDLs (total maximum daily load) and other pollution reduction targets. CWSPs administer formula-based State grants for projects such as green infrastructure, conservation initiatives on farm and forestland, wetland and floodplain restoration, and tree and shrub plantings along riparian areas. More information and a list of CWSPs can be found here.

Vermont Basin Water Quality Councils Basin Water Quality Councils (BWQCs)

Basin Water Quality Councils were created under Act 76. Each basin that has Clean Water Service Provider has a BWQC. The BWQC establishes policy and makes decisions for the CWSP regarding the most significant water quality issues in that basin and the BWQC prioritizes the projects that will address those impairments based on those identified in that basin’s Tactical Basin Plan.

Each BWQC consists of nine members:

  • Two reps from natural resources conversation districts the basin
  • Two reps from regional planning commission in the basin
  • Two reps from watershed protection organizations in the basin
  • Two reps from municipalities in the basin
  • One rep from a land conservation organization in the basin

A list of the member of each BWQC can be found here.

Vermont Natural Resources Board

The Natural Resources Board (NRB)

The NRB is an independent entity in state government that oversees the administration of Act 250, Vermont’s land use and development law. The primary function of the Board is to administer Act 250 to regulate certain types of development and subdivision in Vermont. Nine District Environmental Commissions, supported by full-time staff located in five district offices issue Act 250 land use permits. The NRB is served by a total of 24 full-time employees and approximately 70 citizen volunteer Commissioners and Board members. The NRB issues rules and policies related to Act 250, provides training and legal assistance to District Commissions and staff, and is responsible for enforcement of Act 250. The NRB also hears appeals of energy compliance determinations made by the Commissioner of the Department of Public Service.

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Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules (ICAR)

The Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules was created by state statute (3 V.S.A. § 820). Before any state government agency or department can implement, change, or eliminate a rule it must be reviewed by ICAR. The role of ICAR is to ensure consistency with law, legislative intent, and administration policies. ICAR also evaluates the efforts of agencies for maximizing public input in the development of proposed rules and may prescribe specific strategies regarding location, time, and frequency of public hearings. Members of the committee are appointed by the Governor from the executive branch agencies. ICAR meeting monthly and the public can attend the meetings virtually via Teams or by using the call in option.

Vermont General Assembly - Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules

Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR)

The Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules is a committee of the state legislature. It reviews the final versions of proposed administrative rules after ICAR reviews them. LCAR ensures that rules align with current law and with legislative intent. LCAR can take additional testimony as part of its review and can hold hearings or refer the rule to a standing legislative committee. LCAR is composed of eight members: four senators appointed by the Senate Committee on Committees and four representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House.

Conservation Organizations:

Natural Resource Conservation Districts

Natural Resource Conservation Districts (NRCDs)

The 14 Vermont Natural Resource Conservation Districts are non-regulatory entities that work on a local level to protect natural resources, provide solutions and resources to address environmental concerns, and coordinate resources. Their work includes improving water quality, protecting the natural landscape, and supporting agricultural best practices. NRCDs act as local facilitators linking partner organizations with federal, state, local, and private programs as well as providing technical, financial, and educational assistance. Some NRCDs provide Lake Wise assessments, work with lake associations to manage greeter programs, participate in watershed action plans, and can help lake associations with grants management, project planning, and project implementation. You can find your local NRCD here.

Watersheds United Vermont

Watersheds United Vermont (WUV)

Watersheds United Vermont (WUV) is a state-wide network of local groups dedicated to the health of their home watersheds. WUV’s mission is to empower community-based watershed groups in all parts of the state to protect and restore Vermont’s waters. WUV provides information, resources and training to watershed groups; encourages collaborations and connections between watershed groups and with partner organizations; and administers subgrants to watershed groups for project development, riparian buffer plantings, water quality data analysis support, and water quality improvement project design and implementation.

Vermont Center for Ecostudies

Vermont Center for Ecostudies

The Vermont Center for Ecostudies advances wildlife conservation with the combined force of scientific research and informed communities. Our biologists study birds, insects, amphibians, and other wildlife from Canada to South America. Enhancing our work is a legion of volunteer community scientists and naturalists.

Lake Champlain Basin Program

Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP)

The Lake Champlain Basin Program coordinates and funds efforts that benefit the Lake Champlain Basin’s water quality, fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, recreation, and cultural resources, in partnership with government agencies from New York, Vermont, and Québec, private organizations, local communities, and individuals.  Focus is on the entire Lake Champlain Basin – the lakes and rivers and their watersheds that drain into Lake Champlain from Vermont, New York, and Québec.

Lake Champlain Committee

Lake Champlain Committee (LCC)

The Lake Champlain Committee (LCC) is the region’s only bi-state non-profit organization dedicated to lake health and accessibility. We take a whole-lake approach to issues that affect this natural treasure, which boasts nearly 600 miles of shoreline in New York, Vermont and Quebec.  Focus is on the waters of Lake Champlain.