On Sept. 29 University of Vermont (UVM) Extension, Lake Champlain Sea Grant and the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District will host a Lake Champlain Watershed Deicing Conference.
This free, day-long educational event will be held from 8 am to 5 pm at the Dudley H. Davis Center on the UVM campus in Burlington. Although open to everyone, it specifically targets municipal road maintenance staff, private winter maintenance contractors and elected officials, businesses and nonprofits tasked with decision-making or public education about deicing roads, driveways, sidewalks or parking lots in local communities.
The deadline for registrations is Sept. 15. For more information and to register, click here. A light breakfast and lunch will be provided. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, contact Kris Stepenuck, Lake Champlain Sea Grant Extension leader, at (802) 656-8504 by Sept. 8.
“There is a critical need to build awareness of the impacts of chloride accumulation in our waters that has resulted from winter maintenance practices,”Stepenuck said in an announcement of the event sent to the press. “We also need to educate road maintenance workers, public officials and others of the actions we can take to minimize further impacts while still maintaining public safety.”
Guest speakers from a variety of agencies, organizations and businesses will share best management practices for winter maintenance that help reduce contractor spending and use of salt while at the same time protecting public safety and the environment. Participants also will hear about the state of Lake Champlain and its watershed and success stories from the Adirondacks.
“By understanding best management practices, we can protect our valuable natural resources,” Corrina Parnapy, district manager, Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District said. “With the 30 percent increase in chloride levels within Lake Champlain just in the past 10 years, and many streams exceeding state and national water quality standards for chloride, aquatic organisms including trout have the potential to be negatively impacted. It is vitally important that we take steps to reduce the amount of product applied while still maintaining a level of service.”
A special session for private contractors will be offered to provide training in New Hampshire’s Green SnowPro salt applicator certification and liability protection program. For municipal public works staff and other attendees, a series of talks will address the National Clear Roads Program; innovative techniques, including use of brine for deicing; and the challenges of balancing public safety with environmental health, among other topics.
In addition to the event co-sponsors, the Lake Champlain Basin Program, SnowEx and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission also are providing funding for this event.
Photo courtesy Adirondack Museum.