Petitions to the Water Resources Board on Waterbury Reservoir, 1996

Hearing: September 4, 1996, 7 pm, National Guard Armory, Waterbury


The Water Resources Board (WRB) received two petitions in May 1996 concerning the use of Waterbury Reservoir. These petitions were developed followed a ruling in 1994 on a peition before the WRB that year, in which they recognized that conflict in recreational usage on the Reservoir was serious, and they suggested that the ammended 1994 petition of the Friends of Waterbury Reservoir be shelved for the present until a new approach could be developed. Their Use of Public Waters Rules, also adopted in 1994, suggest more public discussion of the issues in petition development than had previously prevailed in their petiton process. It was also suggested at that time that professional mediation might be attempted to help resolve the differences on Waterbury Reservoir specifically in the hopes that a compromise proposal could be worked out.

Professional mediation was tried during Jan-March, 1995, which, while not successful in producing a mutually agreeable plan for the use of Waterbury Reservoir, did bring out the various viewpoints, some of the potential for compromise among them, and some mutual respect among the various participants. While several parties to the negotiations were interested in developing further a compromise proposal (Green Mountain Skiers, Freinds of Waterbury Reservoir, Bass Fishing interests, and many others) many from the power boating team, who agressively dominated the hearings, were adament in resisting any changes that might result in increased zoning for quiet use. Since then, permits and revocation requests made to ANR and the Department of Safety, concerning the water ski courses in the cove, kept the various parites in touch with each other and brought the interests of residents adjacent to the eastern coves into the discourse over the Reservoir.

These parties continued to try to get together to work out solutions, with compromimises by several previously adversarial groups making concessions. For example, the Green Mountain Water Skiers were willing to minimize their use of the eastern cove course, and give it up entirely if another acceptable site could be found. The Friends of Waterbury Reservoir (quiet users, paddlers, swimmers, etc.) were willing to admit the possibility of ski courses withinin the boundaries of quiet use zones, to enable such releif for residents and give water skiers a chance to continue their sport with optimal location parameters. We then formed a Coalition on Waterbury Reservoir and made every effort to invite representatives of all types of users. Residents, Green Mountain Water Skiers, Vt Bass Federation, Vermont Personel Watercraft Assoc., Central Vermont Powerboaters, and the Friends of Waterbury Reservoir participated, along with a few others, although the Waterbury Center Power Boaters (not certain of the name) opted not to participate.

The majority of the coalition felt that the strategy of having a waterski course within a controlled speed/no wake zone was a good approach and key to conflict resolution. It is what we have now because both current ski courses are in speed control zones. It was recognized that better public information is key to making the concept work better. It was obvious that we would not agree on this zoning, that is the extent of water that should be devoted to quiet use, and thus, in discussion with the WRB, the Coalition decided to offer three alternative quiet zones, and some water ski course location alternatives that would depend on the different zone alternatives. Thus there are three options to the proposed rules, hereafter called Options I, II, and III, toghether with their respective maps, hereafter called Maps 1, 2, and 3.

Option IV was developed by the Friends of Waterbury Reservoir, but is a supplement as well as offering slight modifications of the proposed boundaries of the quiet zones. As May use of the Reservoir developed, it was quite obvious that the Umiak presence of rental canoes were putting a lot of novice canoers in the Eatern arm, and it was felt that the Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) would appreciate a small extension of the quiet zone in the eastern arm over that afforded by the 200 foot rule which dictated the distance off the eastern peninsula between the two eastern coves for Option I-III. This extension thus gives greater comfort and safety to the many paddlers wanting to use use of both coves by paddlers and swimmers. Option IV also offers a slight modification of the Option III boundary. It was thought that the FPR might have a preference for either one, and their choice should prevail depending on their concept of usage for the campground. The water ski courses are not repeated on Map 4, but the FWR endorses the positions for the ski courses shown in Map 3.

The supplementary aspects of the Option IV petition were to have some 200 foot buouys placed in the eastern arm both as a safety feature for slippery rock where a lot of swimmin and fishing occurs, and as a guidepost for boaters to be able to estimate 200 feet in the water. Its other supplementary feature banning non-emergency landing by air craft, turns out to be prophetic, as such use escalated this summer.

This historical-explanatory note was not written by the Coalition, but by me, Fred Abraham of the Friends of Waterbury Reservoir (FWR and I were part of the Coalition). They are placed on my Web site as a public service). Corrections and other views may be sent to me at my e-mail address (click here to leave a reply now) and I will also place them at this site if reasonably brief, or include links to other urls where you may have them parked. The preambles to the proposed rules of the petitions may be obtained from the WRB (802 828-2870), who received them as components of the petitions. Here are the proposed rules and maps of the two petitions.

Proposed Rules: Options 1-IV, Maps 1-4

Click on the item you wish to view. You may either return to this page,
or find this set of options from each of the following linked text (html) files
in order to view the remaining options.

Waterbury Reservoir Coalition Petitions, Option I
Waterbury Reservoir Coalition Petitions, Map 1
Waterbury Reservoir Coalition Petitions, Option II
Waterbury Reservoir Coalition Petitions, Map 2
Waterbury Reservoir Coalition Petitions, Option III
Waterbury Reservoir Coalition Petitions, Map 3
Waterbury Reservoir FWR Petition = Option IV
Waterbury Reservoir FWR Petition, Map 4