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Hearing Recap: LaPlatte Wetlands

From Jon Groveman, Policy & Water Program Director
Last Wednesday the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) held a hearing on VNRC’s Petition to reclassify the LaPlatte River Marsh Wetland from Class 2 to Class 1. ANR is accepting written comments on the LaPlatte reclassification petition until September 11, 2017.

The Class 1 designation is reserved for the most ecologically significant wetlands in Vermont. I spoke at the hearing noting that VNRC filed the Petition because the LaPlatte River Marsh Wetland is so clearly deserving of the Class 1 designation as it is irreplaceable to Vermont’s natural heritage based on the functions and values that the wetland provides. VNRC’s environmental consultants, Dori Barton sand Michael Lew-Smith from Arrowwood Environmental, then reviewed the extensive ecological attributes of the LaPlatte River Marsh Wetland, which include water quality protection, flood prevention, wildlife habitat, and rare natural areas.

Members of the public also spoke out in favor of the reclassification, and the significant ecological values of the wetland. Notably, Rose Paul, Director of Science and Freshwater Programs for The Nature Conservancy (TNC), commented about the importance of the LaPlatte River Marsh Wetland. In addition, Ms. Paul noted that TNC owns approximately half of the land surrounding the LaPlatte River Marsh Wetland and that over the years, TNC has seen development degrade the wetland. Ms Paul commented that the Class 1 designation would help to mitigate these impacts.

ANR is accepting written comments on VNRC’s Petition until September 11, 2017. Please write and urge them to grant VNRC’s Petition as filed to protect this incredible natural resource:

Any person may file comments in writing on this petition by referencing project #2016-699.P through 9/11/2017 and sending them to:

Watershed Management Division
Attn: Wetlands Program Department of Environmental Conservation
One National Life Drive Main Building, 2nd Floor
Montpelier, VT 05620-3522

Or to: ANR.WSMDWetlands@vermont.gov