Opinion: Reducing phosphorus output is key to lake cleanup

In the Thursday, Aug. 20, edition of the AddisonIndependentthe excellent cover story is about the Otter Creek watershed’s sources of phosphorus that are killing Lake Champlain. Fifty percent is coming from agriculture. Seventeen percent is coming from forests. Seventeen percent is coming from stream banks. Assuming that 70 percent of the stream banks are in forests, that would put the forest contribution of phosphorus in the Otter Creek watershed at 28 percent.
The new EPA lake targets ask the forestry sector to reduce its phosphorus contribution by 5 percent. That is a simple task: Comply much more fully with Vermont’s Acceptable Management Practices (AMPs). Conservation of water quality by increasing compliance with the AMPs should be the focus — the raison d’etre — of Vermont’s Use Value Assessment Program instead of its current focus on timber management and procurement. Most landowners would welcome that change. I know I would.
David Brynn

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