Lake Champlain Watershed Roadside Erosion Assessment and Inventory

The Lake Champlain Watershed Water Quality Management Planning project was one of eleven projects in New York State that was funded through the Federal Government's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act initiative. This $130,625 grant contributed to 15 jobs throughout the five counties of the Champlain Basin; Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Warren and Washington. Over 3000 hours were spent on this project through a strong partnership between the LCLGRPB, the Champlain Watershed Improvement Coalition of New York (CWICNY) and the five County SWCD's. Most importantly, critical planning for the future was completed.

The goal of this project was to identify critically eroding roadside banks that contribute significant sediment loads to the high quality streams throughout the Champlain Watershed. Project oversight and fiscal management was performed by staff at the LCLGRPB, while Project Management was performed by the CWICNY Coordinator. Data reconnaissance and field work was completed by the five county SWCD's using newly purchased Trimble Juno SB GPS units with a comprehensive erosion site Data Dictionary produced by the partnering agencies. Data points, coordinating metadata and photos were post-processed using TerrraSync and ARC GIS software, and maps identifying erosion sites were produced for each county and township. For each specific site, a prioritization ranking matrix was used to determine the criticalness of erosion; High, Moderate or Low. Areas with critical erosion are delineated on the maps with red dots, yellow is moderate and green is low. Also determined at the site visits and in post-processing were methods for remediation of the sites and the associated cost-estimates. Overall, 319 roadside erosion sites; 117 high priority, 77 moderate priority & 125 low priority; were identified throughout the watershed on state, county and town roads with a total remediation cost of $1.7 million (insert Table 3). Methods for remediation are vast, and include hydroseeding with tackifier and bonded fiber matrixes; stabilizing ditches with rock and gravel; installing erosion control blankets; constructing check dams and sediment traps; stabilizing bank toes and re-grading slopes and roads.

Another part of this initiative was the planning and executing of several educational trainings, including CWICNY's annual North Country Stormwater Tradeshow and Conference. From 2009 to 2011, over 300 local engineers and municipal staff were educated on topics such as flood plain management, cold climate best management practices and performance, low impact development, advanced mechanisms and designs for phosphorus treatment, green roofs and pervious asphalt. Also throughout this project, individual County SWCD's performed Erosion and Sediment Control trainings for local contractors. In all, over 1000 local code enforcement officers, contractors, and professionals have been educated on important water quality issues that the Champlain region has been facing.

The successful future of the Lake Champlain's water quality is dependant on several factors, including the proper maintenance and control of the highly erodible soils that make up so much of the watershed. This planning initiative has identified several areas that are in dire need of erosion and sediment control maintenance by the state, counties and local governments. It is imperative for the health and wellbeing of our natural resources that they are addressed in the future through the same strong partnerships formed to produce this plan.

Erosion Report Cover