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Acknowledging Coventry for effectively addressing stormwater related runoff

For Immediate Release

Contact Sarah Damsell, Distict Manager, Orleans County NRCD

The Town of Coventry recently completed a town-wide road erosion inventory and capital budget project plan funded through a grant from the Vermont Better Roads program. The town hired the Orleans County Conservation District to undertake a comprehensive road erosion inventory all of the hydrologically connected road segments. Looking at areas of concern for water quality impairment issues and meeting standards laid out in the upcoming VTDEC Municipal Roads General Permit (MRGP).

Coventry has had a long history of focusing on road maintenance. In the 1977 Bits and Pieces of Coventry History booklet it is noted that “At the first town meeting in 1803 it was voted that each inhabitant should work on the roads four days in June and two days in September. A tax of three cents per acre for roads and bridges in Coventry was passed by the Assembly in 1805 and a committee name to supervise the work. The first public roads were laid out in the fall of the year.” Also, in the 1950’s the town made large investments in raising all of the town road base layer up away from surroundings.

According to the recently approved and adopted Lake Memphremagog TMDL land use phosphorus export model dirt roads contribute 8% of the phosphorus loading to the lake. The long term commitment, large investments in road drainage and good practices such as using good surface material with a crown and removing all grader berms has diminished Coventry’s fraction of this estimated loading which is reflected in the very high percentage of assessed road segments meeting these new stormwater general permit standards.

The MRGP becomes effective on 7/31/18 when towns will have 2 years to inventory roads and identify segments of roads that don’t meet standards and create a discharge to the waters of the state. Compliance is based on a plan the town generates to address any problems and they have until 2037 to be in compliance. Like Coventry many towns have already begun the inventory which is the first step toward meeting the new permit requirements. In Orleans County, half of all towns have an active grant with VT Better Road Program to complete their inventory.

“The Town of Coventry should be acknowledged for the proactive work in addressing stormwater related runoff. Based on this inventory, over 90% of Coventry’s roads now fully meet the forthcoming MRGP road standards. This number is well above the statewide average. For this, Coventry’s roads are likely more resilient to flash flood events that are more frequently occurring, have improved road drainage, and reduce sediment runoff associated with town roads to adjacent waters.” Jim Ryan, Vermont DEC, Municipal Roads Program Coordinator

Coventry will be working on the next few years to complete identified remaining work. The work to bring town roads up to standard will cost the towns but grants through the Vermont Clean Water Fund are available to address erosion coming from roads. Details of the MRGP and the contact information for Jim Ryan the lead staff person developing the permit are here http://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/public-notices/mrgp-public-notice.

For additional questions about this grant please contact Sarah Damsell at 802-334-6090 x 7008 or David Gallop at 673-5113.

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