By MADELINE HUGHES
The Lake Iroquois Association is wrapping up a summer project aimed at improving a stream flowing into the lake near Pine Shore Drive in Hinesburg.
Pine Shore Drive is a gravel road that leads from Pond Road downhill to a lakeside neighborhood. The runoff from the road and nearby retention pond needed to be mitigated before entering the lake.
Shannon Kelly, a member of the Lake Iroquois Association, said this area was identified as a problem area in 2010. In 2012, the association received a grant to begin work to help channel the runoff coming from the road and overflow from the pond.
This summer’s work was phase two using a $34,000 Ecosystem Restoration grant from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. The grant to the nonprofit lake watchdog group paid for the road to be crowned, more stonework, and more vegetation to be added to control the water.
“Crowning the road pushes runoff off the sides,” Kelly said, adding that previously, water wasn’t channeled well into the stream – it would go right down the hill instead. The rocks provide a structured path for water to follow now. The new vegetation acts as a filter for the stream water before it enters the lake.
“It decreases the velocity of water to slow it down, and it increases the quality of the water by trapping the pollutants,” Kelly said.
The town matched the grant with work by the town highway department to crown the gravel road and haul stones.
The Vermont Youth Conservation Corps also helped laying the stone for the project.
Jim Ross, Pat Souzzi and Lisa Thompson were integral members of the association for this project, along with the other 11 board directors helping to plant the vegetation, Kelly said.
The project’s impact will be measured next year, Kelly said. This summer has been unusually dry, and as with any such work, it will take time for the ground to settle.
“Next year’s data collection is important,” Kelly said. “From late June on, we have had little collection, and after the project, settling needs to happen.”
The group generally collects data from streams feeding into the lake to see where pollutants are coming from.
The local volunteers hope the final step happens Monday with a visit from officials from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Depending on what they say regarding the stream flow, some additional stonework may be needed, Kelly said.
These types of grants are competitive. The association has their eyes set on a grant for similar work on BeeBe Lane, with a focus on the road. Anyone within the watershed can be a member of the group. More information can be found at lakeiroquois.org.