RYEGATE, Vt. – A pond in the Northeast Kingdom has become the first in Vermont to be removed from the state’s impaired waters list after meeting federal water quality standards, the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced this week.
According to the DEC, Ticklenaked Pond in Ryegate, Vt., has been restored according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s mandated phosphorus reduction goals following more than a decade of local and state efforts to control phosphorus runoff into the Caledonia County pond.
Successes within Ticklenaked Pond’s watershed makes the pond the first to be removed from the state’s impaired waters list for water quality improvements, according to the DEC.
Phosphorus is a vital nutrient for plant growth often found in fertilizer.
When washed into bodies of water, phosphorus can also nurture potentially toxic blooms of cyanobacteria – more commonly known as “blue-green algae.”
According to the DEC, Ticklenaked Pond had struggled “for many years” with cyanobacteria blooms and other water quality challenges before state officials and local organizations like the Ticklenaked Pond Association began implementing plans to manage phosphorus runoff and eventually treat the pond’s latent nutrient pollution.
In a statement, DEC Lakes and Ponds Program Manager Oliver Pierson said the DEC expected the pond’s treatment – an alum treatment intended to render phosphorus unusable for cyanobacteria blooms – to “remain effective for many years to come.”
“If the treatment continues to be complemented by efforts to reduce phosphorus pollution from the watershed, Ticklenaked Pond will be a great place for Vermonters to enjoy clean water and excellent recreation opportunities,” Pierson said.