Vermont's 4th Annual Water Quality Conference Scheduled

Vermont's 4th Annual Water Quality Conference Scheduled

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The Vermont Environmental Consortium and Vermont Tech announce the 4th Annual Water Quality Conference to be held on Friday, May 29, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Vermont Tech, Judd Hall, in Randolph.

Daniel Smith, president of Vermont Tech, is the keynote speaker for the conference. Smith’s entrepreneurial vision for this celebrated Vermont institution has already brought a number of initiatives to Vermont Tech that are directly related to water quality concerns in the state.

Conference speakers and panelists include: David Mears, Department of Environmental Conservation commissioner; Karen Glitman, director of policy and public affairs for VT Energy Investment Corp.; Monique Oxender, chief sustainability officer, Keurig Green Mountain; David Dunn, program manager at Green Mountain Power’s Energy Innovation Center; and Tom Berry, agriculture policy advisor for Senator Patrick Leahy.

During an extended lunch break, attendees can take a self-guided tour of Vermont Tech’s "Big Bertha,” a electricity and heat-producing anaerobic digester or the college’s campus farm and view the water quality video, What’s Your Watermark? The video will be moderated by Jen Fleckenstein, marketing and Class II water operator from Clear Water Filtration. Lunch will be available in the campus dining hall for those who pre-register.

Progress has been made in understanding the causes and sources of Lake Champlain’s water quality problems. It’s clear that best management practices on farms and beyond can stem the flow of nutrients into the lake and other water bodies. Yet, Vermont and others continue to be challenged by organizing and funding implementation of solutions.

Previous conferences have explored regulations, sources of nutrient pollutants, storm water, modeling, political will, grass-roots efforts and innovative community action, implementation and funding. This year’s Water Quality Conference examines organizational structures and innovative approaches that have succeeded in other areas and might be applied to improvement of water quality.

This year’s conference topics include: Update on regulatory changes affecting water quality; a utility model for organizing the drive toward increasing water quality; enhancing implementation of BMPs through the Current Use program; innovative approaches to increasing the value — and decreasing the cost — of nutrients; and a wrap up that explores where we go from here.

Other presenters come from a range of private business, educational and government sectors and have broad perspectives and expertise in topic areas. Federal, state and municipal government representatives include Trey Martin, Agency of Natural Resources; Laura DiPietro, Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets; Chris Cole, Agency of Transportation; Elizabeth Hunt, VT Tax Department; Vicky Drew, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; and Megan Moir, Burlington Dept. of Public Works.

Jeff Bernicke of Native Energy and Guy Roberts of Aurora Bioscience represent private sector businesses. Panelists from educational facilities include Breck Bowden, School of Natural Resources UVM and James Houle, UNH Stormwater Center; and from nongovernment organizations are Jamey Fidel, VT Natural Resources Council and Eric Clifford, Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition.

Attendees can browse booths displaying information about businesses and organizations and network with other attendees, businesses and organizations.

There are opportunities to attend, exhibit or sponsor this event. To learn more, visit www.vectogether.org and choose “Spring Conference.” Questions regarding this event can be directed to 802/747-7900 or info@vectogether.org.



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