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June 8, 2014

Boquet River Association talks priorities at meeting

ELIZABETHTOWN — Anne Ruzow-Holland says there are no political boundaries when it comes to watershed management. 

“Instead,” the environmental planning consultant told the Boquet River Association at its annual meeting, “this is based on the physical properties of our landscape.” 

Ruzow-Holland discussed the watershed management plan she has been developing for the association (known as BRASS), which includes watershed characterization and assessment of existing laws, as well as programs and practices affecting water quality.

Watershed characterization involves bedrock and surface geology, hydrography, land classification, land cover, prime farmland and a sub-watershed overview. It will result in maps and tables, as well as written information.

The priorities Ruzow-Holland delineated are: existing impairments; vulnerability; threats to water quality and habitat; and nonpoint source pollution.

“I am hoping this plan is a tool that will be useful,” she said. “No one has a good list of what regulations exist at the town levels.” 

She hopes to gather this information in readily accessible form.

BRASS GOALS

The goals of BRASS are: to reduce flood damage; promote biodiversity; provide for public access; education; prevent pollution; and promote public participation. 

The Boquet River stretches 47 miles, from Dix Mountain to its Lake Champlain egress at Willsboro. 

The watershed, which covers 280 square miles, includes 674 miles of streams.

BRASS, formed in 1984, uses a collaborative, non-regulatory approach to watershed management. 

It is a membership-based and volunteer-oriented organization that aims to enhance the quality of water and life in the Boquet River watershed. 

During the year, it holds events such as river clean-ups, kayaking and canoeing excursions and a race.

FUTURE PLANS

BRASS serves the watershed communities of Elizabethtown, Essex, Lewis, Westport and Willsboro. Its Board of Directors is composed of appointees from these five towns, as well as at-large directors elected by the membership.

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