Stream Wise

Tools for Property Owners

Tools for Property Owners

These resources for property owners include how-to guides and information on stream restoration and planting, managing access, stormwater and invasive species, and more.

Comprehensive how-to guides

Guide de mise en valeur riveraine

This comprehensive guide (in French but available in English from OBVBM) describes a variety of ways in which landowners can observe their own property, assess it for issues, and implement strategies to ameliorate the effects of development on streams and rivers. Well laid out and comprehensive, this guide is effective and practical for both practitioners and landowners.

Bande Riveraine

QuébecVert, formerly FIHOQ (Interdisciplinary Federation of Ornamental Horticulture in Quebec), has the mission of representing and promoting the ornamental, environmental and food horticulture sector and promoting its growth with a view to sustainable development. Bande Riveraine has many tools to creating effective riparian buffers. In particular their ‘Guide de bonnes pratiques: Aménagement et techniques de restauration des bandes riveraines’ is particularly useful for landowners along streams and rivers. French only on the website.

Shoreline Stabilization Handbook

Published by the Lake Champlain SeaGrant program, this handbook deals primarily with lakeshore erosion and stabilization. However, it presents various stabilization techniques, such as bioengineering practices like live staking and erosion control logs, in simple-to-understand terms. These practices can be used along stream banks to counter erosion and promote stability.

Living in Harmony with Streams

Published by the Friends of the Winooski River, this guide is an effective resource for property owners in understanding stream function, as well as understanding broader restoration techniques. This guide does not necessarily have specific recommendations that property owners can follow on their own (i.e. specific Best Management Practices).

Stormwater management resources

Vermont Guide to Stormwater for Homeowners and Small Businesses

This guide can help Stream Wise Property owners identify and manage specific practices to mitigate runoff from developed areas of their property. In particular, guidance on access paths or stairs may prove especially valuable.

Road Management

New York State’s Rural Roads Active Management Program (RRAMP) and Vermont’s Better Roads Manual are two resources that can be used to aid in the design of access paths through the riparian buffer to the stream or river to minimize hydrologic connection using a variety of techniques. Note that many of the BMPs in the New York RRAMP manual were drawn originally from the Vermont Better Roads Manual.

Vermont DEC Lake Wise

Similar to Stream Wise, Lake Wise has assembled a variety of technical assistance worksheets for management practices that may help manage runoff from developed surfaces on Stream Wise properties.

Vermont Rain Garden Manual

This Vermont-based manual gives property-owner friendly details on how to design and build simple, small rain gardens around residential development. This guide would be particularly useful in abating runoff point sources or concentrated flows from entering the riparian buffer, or mitigating development within the buffer.

Fiches sur l’aménagement et l’entretien des propriétés résidentielles

Guide to water-friendly practices in French, covering BMPs for stormwater as well as good septic system design, low-mow practices, and general water quality issues for homeowners.

La conceptions des jardins de pluie

Step-by-step manual for rain garden design from placement to sizing and species selection.

Other guides

Creating a Riparian Buffer – Tree Planting

Simple one-page guide from the Lake Champlain Committee on planting a riparian buffer. This guide may lack the details and guidance necessary to establish an effective buffer.

OBVBM – Various Documents

OBVBM has created several documents over the years which could be of help to property owners, in particular the Protecting shorelines, floodplains, and wetlands document, the Shorelines and Health – Public Awareness Sign, the Waterline Property Owner’s Guide which outlines good stewardship for owners along lakes and streams, and the Biomechanical Stabilization Fact Sheet which outlines practical measures that can be taken to stabilize stream banks.

DIY Water Quality

The Fund for Lake George created this how-to manual to protect water resources, including information on stream buffers, shoreline buffers, rain gardens, minimizing lawns, native plant species index, and site planning.

Invasive species management

Invasive species spread rapidly and threaten native plant species and the health of stream ecosystems. They spread easily along streams and river corridors and are commonly found along streambanks. It is imperative to prevent and remove invasive species as much as possible and to contain and prevent their spread.

Invasive species can be very difficult and even dangerous to remove, often requiring repeated and prolonged removal techniques, including mechanical/physical, suppression, and herbicide injection, depending on the type of species and the extent of the spread. Technical and professional assistance may be necessary. The following are regional resources for invasive species:

  • Conseil québécois des espèces exotiques envahissantes  – Quebec Interdepartmental Committee on Invasive Species
  • For more information on Invasive Alien Species (IAS) in Quebec, consult this resource, in particular the Program for the control of invasive alien plants for help in identifying and controlling invasives. IAS makes use of the Sentinel tool which is an invasive alien species (IAS) detection tool consisting of a mobile application and a web-accessible mapping system. This detection tool makes it possible to transmit and consult online the reports of invasive alien plants and animals of greatest concern. Please use it to report instances of invasive species.

8 steps for streams

Check out our overview of the best ways to promote healthy waterways.

DIY Technical Assistance

The following resources from across the Lake Champlain region provide easy access to a variety of useful practices related to stream health. Use the categories to find the areas where you can to protect and improve your waterway.

Ready To Be a Stream Steward?

Our 2022 field visit season is underway! If you own property in the Lake Champlain Basin along or that contains a river or stream, we want to help you boost your buffer.

Contact us

Advisory Committee: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, Organisme de basin versant de la baie Missiquoi, Adirondack Park Agency, Lake Placid Land Conservancy

Community Partners: Lake Champlain Sea Grant, Watersheds United Vermont, Vermont River Conservancy, Poultney-Mettowee Natural Resource Conservation District, Friends of the Winooski River, Champlain Watershed Improvement Coalition, Lake Champlain Lake George Regional Planning Board, Lake George Association, Ausable River Association

Stream Wise is a project of Lake Champlain Basin Program and NEIWPCC