Protect the shorelands
Proposed shoreland protection legislation pushes forward efforts to protect and improve the quality of Vermont lakes and ponds. The legislation would place reasonable regulations on shoreland activity, including clearing of native trees and bushes, and the expansion of impervious surfaces. Impervious surfaces are artificial structures that are covered by impenetrable materials such as asphalt. I believe that although shoreland protection isn’t the only pollution and flood control tactic, it will propel Vermont forward in its efforts to control pollution and decrease flood damage.
Other states, including Maine and New Hampshire, preserve their lakes and ponds by implementing shoreland protection laws. Legislation in Vermont is pulling ideas from their successful regulations to model our proposed laws after.
Not only is shoreland protection a crucial pollution and flood mitigation measure, it also greatly impacts fish and wildlife. Clearing vegetation and creating impervious structures on shorelands can disrupt habitats for fish and wildlife, which can make it hard, or nearly impossible, for them to survive. By protecting Vermont’s shoreland, we will also be defending fish and wildlife.
Imagine a Vermont where you couldn’t go swimming in your favorite place because the water was too polluted. Who wants their children swimming in dirty water? Nobody.
Vermonters have the opportunity to help shape sensible shoreland protection. You can help define the proposed model in legislation concerning our beautiful, healthy, thriving lakes and shoreland creatures in Vermont. Come to the Lake Shoreland Protection Commission meeting Jan. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the State House to voice your opinion. If you care about the current or future health of Vermont’s water, wildlife or fish, express your questions and concerns at the meeting. For more information about the committee, bill and public meeting, you can visit https://leg2.vermont.gov/sites/legislature/LSP/default.aspx.
Don’t just rely on the Legislature; speak up.
The writer is a sophomore at Montpelier High School and an intern at the Conservation Law Foundation.
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