SAAWA Annual Meeting!
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
The Stonehouse, St. Albans Bay Town Park | 5:30 pm

Let’s get together again for the end-of-summer
2017 SAAWA Annual Meeting! Come join us for
an update on our progress and enjoy some
good food, great beer, and wonderful people.

Summer Barbecue at the Bay
14th Star Brewing Co. beer available for purchase

Guest Speaker:
Commissioner Emily Boedecker (around 6:30pm)
Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

We are in need of activating new board members as well. Our group meets 1-2 times a month where each member does a small part to make a BIG difference!
Questions? Please contact SAAWA Secretary Jeff Moulton at 802.238.9319 for more information.

Hope to see you on the 30th!

Download Meeting Flyer & Membership Renewal Form


















Thanks to all who came out for Take A Stake in the Lake.

With over 80 people in attendance, we reached a broad audience of landowners, community and state leaders and resource providers. It was a fun evening, with good food, and lots of great information. People left with numerous take-aways, both in the form of materials and great action steps. This event was meant to be an informational round-up where we all could learn what’s being done to clean and protect the Lake, and how to be active stewards in that process. We hope to improve and expand the concept next year for those who couldn't make it.

We extend a sincere thank you to all of our presenters and exhibitors whose lively engagement with attendees, informational materials and presentations were the core to its success: Lake Champlain Committee; Lake Champlain International; Breezy Acres Garden Center; Natural Resources Conservation Services; Northwest Crops & Soils Program; Lake Champlain Basin Program; Lake Champlain Land Trust; Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation - Watershed Management Division; UVM Watershed Alliance; Franklin Watershed Committee; Vermont Agency of Natural Resources; Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife; Franklin County Stormwater; Farmers Watershed Alliance; and Friends of Northern Lake Champlain.

Several wonderful sponsors helped support this event: Franklin County Industrial Development Corporation, Quick Response Sprinkler, Mimmo's Pizzeria & Restaurant and Costco Warehouse.

Special thanks to Hannaford Supermarket for their generous donation of food and supplies; and major thanks to Chuck Lowe of The Bayside for donating food and putting on a great burger barbecue.

Finally, we are most grateful to SeaGrant Lake Champlain and UVM Extension, our partners in this event whose work and expertise made the evening possible.











2017 Weed Harvesting Season Underway
The St. Albans Area Watershed Association is again operating two weed harvesters on St. Albans Bay this summer. We continue to believe that our efforts are helping to improve water quality in the Bay.

We have again received a grant through the Aquatic Nuisance Control Grant-in-Aid Program in the amount of $10,290.00. The City’s contribution together with contributions from the Towns of St. Albans and Georgia provide an annual budget for weed harvesting of $30,790.00. We have performed substantial repairs and repainted the hulls on both machines. Both weed harvesters are now in very good condition and should give us many years of service. Special thanks should be given to John Pelletier and Sons for directing the restoration and providing professional services when necessary.

As in past years, we are also requesting contributions from property owners to help fund the weed harvesting program. We are grateful for those who continue to support this effort to help restore and reduce weeds in the Bay.

We encourage shoreline property owners to inform Steve Cushing, weed harvesting coordinator, of problem areas you experience around the Bay. We would be very happy to work with individuals to clean the shoreline of accumulated weeds. Steve can be reached at 782-5675.

Contributions can be mailed to St. Albans Area Watershed Association, P.O. Box 1567, St. Albans, VT 05478 or click to donate online securely via Paypal.


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.


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.


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: info@saintalbanswatershed.org
SAAWA logo | return home
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, August 12 9:30 am
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.
Download the
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.