Vermont Farms May Face New Runoff Rules

February 3, 2016 03:00 PM

Farms in northwestern Vermont may have to abide by certain practices to reduce phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain under a decision released by the state's agriculture secretary.

Chuck Ross had previously rejected a petition filed by an environmental group that asked that farmers in the Missisquoi Bay basin be required to follow best management practices such as having expanded vegetated buffers and planting cover crops.

The Conservation Law Foundation appealed and the organization and the agency reached a tentative agreement in late August aimed at settling the lawsuit. Ross released a revised decision Wednesday that says best management practices are necessary in the basin to comply with Vermont's water quality goals.

Farms will be assessed and it could be determined that practices already in place on some farms are sufficient.

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