Thursday, June 1, 4-7:30pm | Take a Stake in Our Lake:
A family-friendly event to celebrate the Lake Champlain Basin and
share ways we can take action to improve and protect water quality.
SAAWA is hosting an informational round-up of Vermont water-quality organizations. Attendees will be able to learn how we can make our properties more "lake-friendly" by reducing runoff and pollution at home. This event will take place at the St. Albans Bay Town Park on St. Albans Bay.

Click here for more details, presenter/topic list and speaker schedule.

Click here to download the event flyer.

Please share, like us on Facebook & spread the word!

Glyphosate: Increasing phosphorus runoff and toxic too?
SAAWA has been looking at work done on the effects of the broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate and the damage its increasing use may have created in our watershed. Sold under the name Roundup, but also used in other herbicide formulations, farmers and property owners use glyphosate for weed control. Concerns are being raised not only regarding the toxic potential of this substance, but also regarding the effect that surfactants in the glyphosate solutions have on speeding delivery of phosphorus and other nutrients into the lake. Studies are being done around Lake Erie which seem to connect the use of glyphosate to a dramatic increase in nutrient runoff. In our area, densely planted with corn, this is a great concern. We believe this is a subject that has been largely ignored, despite widespread use in our watershed, and the Board is working to bring attention to what is potentially a huge problem in our area.

Food for thought... "Sweatshop Dairy?"
From an article in Vermont Digger by Michael Colby and Will Allen: SAAWA has been raising this issue for some time now. We are not anti-farm, and there are many farmers out there trying to do the right thing, but the rise of big farming in our area has certainly not been compatible with clean water. We see it daily. Not only that, it does not seem profitable for the farmers. This is a discussion that needs to be had.

Vermont agriculture exists in what seems to be two parallel universes, one in our minds and the other in reality. When people are asked to think about or imagine Vermont farming, they’ll inevitably mention grass and pastures and grazing cows, all with a perfect blue sky and just the right puffy clouds. It’s a well-marketed image, and comes attached to flavors like Cherry Garcia and slogans like “farmer owned.”

But the reality is much different. Because a vast majority of Vermont’s agriculture – more than 70 percent — is all about commodity-driven, nonorganic dairy production, where GMO crops dominate, cows are on concrete, gorged and fully dosed with an array of pharmaceuticals, fields are bathed in toxic pesticides, and our waterways are declared impaired as a result of the nitrogen and phosphorus-rich farm runoff.

Read the whole thing.

Green Mountain Power Manure Digester Update:
Update Dec 2016: We believe the GMP digester project may be on hold. We have requested an update from GMP.

SAAWA met with representatives from Green Mountain Power in June to express our concerns regarding the proposed manure digester on Dunsmore Road. At that time, GMP was not able to fully answer our concerns regarding whether the digester will contribute to cleaner water in the Bay or simply create a situation enabling more cows and corn field runoff.

We remain concerned about spills at this sensitive location (a compromised waterway, Jewett Brook, feeding directly into the Bay ) and feel trucking in additional organic matter (food waste from other sources in Franklin County) does not seem like a good idea. At this time, GMP has no specific plans for removal of processed phosphorus from the watershed. They agreed to provide us with more information about safety precautions and process but we have not received it yet. It is our understanding that the project has been suspended pending further engineering review.

We were able to express our concerns to GMP that this is a large investment in big farming, which has great potential to adversely impact the Bay.

Dunsmore Road Digester Concerns
SAAWA has concerns about the multi-million GMP digester project
proposed for Dunsmore Road. Our main concern is that clean water
benefits for St. Albans Bay are unclear. Potential for spills is
worrisome and the location is problematic.

Jewett Brook, which is directly adjacent to the proposed site, is
already an impaired waterway which shows the negative effects
(choking weeds, blue green algae blooms, dirty water) from nearby
area runoff. It is not clear that this project will improve the water
quality in any way and, in fact, has the potential to make it much
worse by bringing in additional manure and food waste from a 50
mile radius. We are seeking more information on this issue and
have submitted our concerns to the PSB.
Read more on this topic here.

Newsletter Update
Vermont TMDL Plan Positve,
Still Needs Watching   
SAAWA has seen more movement this year in the effort to clean
up St. Albans Bay and Lake Champlain than any year in the
last 20. SAAWA leadership and all the members of SAAWA
should be proud of our contribution to this effort.

SAAWA has four main goals. We strive to:
1. Bear witness to the situation on the ground and clearly, loudly speak the truth;
2. Directly improve water conditions in the Bay;
3. Lobby for more aggressive regulatory action;
4. Be in the vanguard as to what efforts should be undertaken by regulators to clean up the lake.

What is the TMDL?
The EPA has rewritten the TMDL for Lake Champlain, which is the plan for how much pollution, in our case phosphorus, can enter the lake and still have acceptable water quality. TMDL stands for total maximum daily load.

Originally written in 2002, it has governed the water quality improvement efforts. The Conservation Law Foundation sued the Federal Government o overturn it, viewing it as inadequate. We were one of the few voices to support the CLF.  As a settlement to that suit, the EPA agreed to revise the plan which is in the final approval phase. The new TMDL will govern the water quality improvement efforts in the next few years. The new TMDL is now almost universally recognized as a watershed (no pun intended) moment in the lake cleanup efforts.
Read more in the 2015/2016 Winter Newsletter Update ...

Weed Harvesting Expands
With Addition of Small Harvester
SAAWA again conducted weed harvesting in the Bay during the summer of 2015. In addition to annual funding from the Towns of St. Albans and Georgia, and the City of St. Albans; SAAWA received $5,000.00 from the St. Albans Rotary Club and an $11,500.00 grant from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Aquatic Nuisance Control Grant-in Aid . The purpose of the grant was to help fund mechanical weed harvesting in St. Albans Bay by hiring two additional employees to operate and  maintain the two weed harvesters and tractor.  A second  weed harvester was purchased from the Town of Franklin for $3,000.00.

Read more in the 2015/2016 Winter Newsletter Update ...

Future plans
SAAWA is focused on real, in-lake cleanup measures, as well as pressing for better land-use practices in the watershed. We are currently exploring the addition of a shoreline conveyor to make weed harvesting more efficient, methods of transporting weeds farther from the watershed, and better ways to combat blue-green algae which recent studies increasingly show may be a serious health hazard.

You can support these efforts with your tax-deductible donation to the harvester fund.

Download SAAWA Weed
Harvesting Brochure
Weed harvesting improves water quality and clarity by removing
excess weeds, increasing water circulation, and reducing conditions
that contribute to algae blooms. In addition, it is the only activity
currently occurring which reduces phosphorus already in the
lake sediment.

Learn more by downloading our Weed Harvesting informational brochure.
Thank you to all members who renewed their membership, made donations and contributed to the Harvester Fund.

SAAWA is not an organization of property owners. Our goal is to serve as a voice for all of us in this watershed (shore, city and town) to express the need for change, and to coordinate action for real, in-lake clean-up. We are tired of studies and participation in voluntary programs has not been successful. We have, and will continue to advocate for requirements to improve agricultural land use practices
and for greater investment in enforcement.

Volunteer for a committee or attend the next meeting of the Board Anyone with an interest in serving on the Board is invited to attend a Board meeting.

The St. Albans Area Watershed Association was created in 2002 with the primary goal of restoring the water quality of St. Albans Bay and the surrounding watershed.  We are a grassroots group of individuals -- young and old -- who love the lake and want to see crystal clear waters return to the Bay for the enjoyment and health of people and animals.

st. albans bay
report a pollution problem
working to restore Saint Albans Bay
St. Albans Area Watershed Association | P.O. Box 1567, St. Albans VT 05478 | email:
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lodal weather and water conditions
SAAWA wants to see real change happen in Saint Albans Bay.
Join your neighbors to take action. Support weed harvesting
and algae remediation in the Bay and better land use practices.

Our goal is to raise funds for a second large weed harvester operating on the Bay which will cost about $50,000. An anonymous donor started this project rolling with a challenge grant of $5,000 which SAAWA members were able to match.

This past season, we were able to purchase a smaller harvester for working close to shore, but there remains a need for a larger harvester and conveyor to make the harvesting process more efficient and effective.

We are continuing our  fundraising campaign to reach our final goal.
Please contribute if you can!
The  St. Albans Area Watershed Association is a non-profit corporation with tax exempt status under IRS section 501(c)(3) TIN 41-2196343.   All Donations are Tax Deductible.

SAAWA Board Meetings
are scheduled twice monthly
on Wednesdays at 5:30 pm
Email for location.
Next meeting:
Wednesday, May 17
Your participation is welcome!
link to Harvester Brochure .pdf format
Click to download newsletter
Becoming BLUE!
SAAWA is working with Lake Champlain International (LCI) to try to expand their Blue Certification program to the St. Albans area. Becoming "Blue Certified" can help reduce stormwater runoff from your property. LCI has expert advice for techniques to make your home, product or business  watershed friendly. At this time, you can email Juliana at LCI for more information.