Next Tuesday, Oct. 7, people will have their first chance to listen, learn and ask questions about possible changes at the beloved Waterbury Reservoir.
Residents, local and state officials and organization leaders are expected to attend.
Friends of Waterbury Reservoir and Umiak Outdoor Outfitters, the Stowe company that rents kayaks and paddleboards on the 850-acre reservoir, have issued calls to action, urging people to attend the meeting.
"This (situation) affects a wide variety of people, businesses and animals who call the reservoir home. Right now, it is really important that recreation paddlers and boaters show their support for the reservoir and voice their opinion," Umiak said in email blast to customers sent last week.
State and local officials are seeking ways to reduce environmental impacts, keep recreation available and ensure the dam's roles in flood protection and in hydropower electricity generation.
So far, the state says its preference is to keep water levels at the reservoir at a more constant level, instead of high water in the summer and low water in the winter. It prefers the summertime water level of 589 feet above sea level to preserve recreation.
There's concern that changing water levels causes problems for fish and wildlife at the reservoir.
The state prefers that the reservoir remain constantly elevated at the summertime height of 589 feet above sea level to preserve recreation potential and ecological health.
Green Mountain Power operates a hydroelectric plant at the Waterbury Dam, and applying to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to renew its hydro license.
As part of that process, the state Agency of Natural Resources must ensure the hydro plant meets water-quality standards set in the Clean Water Act, and that review opened up the questions about the reservoir's future.
The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a public meeting about reservoir water-quality issues on Tuesday, Oct. 7, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Thatcher Brook Primary School, 47 Stowe St., Waterbury.
Written comments can be filed until Oct. 21 by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via letter to Jeff Crocker, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, 1 National Life Drive, Main 2, Montpelier, VT 05620-3522.
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Thatcher Brook Primary School