Sugarbush Resort Announces Third Brook Removed from State List of Impaired Waters Resort's clean-up plan pays off at Rice Brook


SUGARBUSH, VT. - Sugarbush Resort is pleased to announce that its ongoing efforts to be responsible stewards of the environment are proving successful: Earlier this summer, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources removed Rice Brook from the state’s list of 'impaired waters' due to the resort's diligent clean-up work.

Vermont Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources Deb Markowitz congratulated Sugarbush, adding, 'This is a great model for the rest of the state.'

Rice Brook is the third brook Sugarbush has succeeded in restoring to high water quality conditions. In 1996, a team of Sugarbush employees partnered with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc. of Ferrisburgh to prepare a comprehensive water quality remediation plan for the entire resort. This was followed by thorough implementation and monitoring of the plan by Sugarbush. Several years later, Chase and Slide Brooks were restored to meeting Vermont's water quality standards. Now, Rice Brook has also been restored.

'We take our responsibility to the ecosystem seriously,' said Win Smith, president and owner of Sugarbush. 'Whatever we do here in the mountains ends up in the Lake Champlain watershed, making it doubly important for us to be good stewards of the water and the natural environment. This was simply the right thing to do.'

A little more than a mile in length, Rice Brook rises in the higher elevations near the Lincoln Peak base area at Sugarbush and flows east where it joins Clay Brook before flowing into the Mad River about halfway between Warren and Waitsfield. It is part of the larger Winooski River watershed. Rice Brook's water quality problems resulted from untreated stormwater runoff, that is, water that runs off from impervious surfaces during rainstorms and from snowmelt, rather than naturally infiltrating through the soil. Stormwater runoff results in increases in pollutants such as silt and sand entering streams, and also higher rates of flow, causing stream channels to erode. The plan that Sugarbush developed addressed both of these issues through design and implementation of state-of-the-art stormwater controls, in partnership with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.