Franklin Watershed Committee

The Franklin Watershed Committee (FWC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Franklin, Vermont. The organization began when members of the community surrounding Lake Carmi noticed an increase in algal blooms within the lake and feared for the lake's degrading water quality. The FWC is dedicated to reducing the amount of nutrients and sediments that enter Lake Carmi through runoff, with a focus on the Lake's phosphorous intake.

Lake Carmi itself is surrounded by a number of camps and farms that contribute to the nutrient overload of this water body through the run-off of fertilizers and sediments. Therefore, in order to mitigate the input of run-off into the lake, the FWC reaches out to local farmers and landowners, within the watershed, to encourage and implement land elements that utilize phosphorous. For example, the organization provides incentives for landowners to make changes on their properties that benefit the lake, such as planting cover crops that catch run-off, improving septic systems, and repairing culverts. These simple land improvements help to stop harmful run-off from running down a flat plain and into the Lake Carmi.

Additionally, the FWC has worked with the VT ANR to devise a Total Maximum Daily Load analysis of the phosphorous entering Lake Carmi. By reaching out to landowners and actively working with the VT ANR the FWC is able to monitor the phosphorous in the lake and protect its water quality for the long term. This monitoring combined with creating active changes to the land is pushing forwards towards the FWC's long-term conservation goal of reducing nutrient load in the lake and preventing harmful algal blooms.

Project Contact: Alisha Sawyer
Project Contact Email:
Project Lifespan: 1994-present
Regional Planning Commision: None
Project Accomplishments:

Lake Carmi is very small lake and typically does not get much attention at a state level. However, due to the efforts of the Franklin Watershed Committee the lake was finally able to get statewide recognition for its significance and was even mentioned in the Governor's inaugural speech.

Project Partners:

Camper's Association
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
Vermont Department of Conservation
Town of Franklin

Critical to Success:

The Franklin Watershed Committee is only able to operate through the continuous involvement of the farmers and other landowning stakeholders. The willingness of local farmers to plant cover crops and listen to the recommendations of the FWC for the health of the lake is crucial to the group's success. Additionally, the social aspect of reaching out to the community, interacting with community members, and convincing locals and camp attendees to care about the health of Lake Carmi is important in keeping the community interested and invested in this valuable resource.


The Franklin Watershed Committee is a nonprofit organization and often has difficulty finding money to fund their projects. The only way for the FWC to gain funding is through a fairly involved grant process. Additionally, the organization has only one paid employee and is run mostly by volunteers with full time jobs outside of the FWC. Therefore, often times it is difficult for volunteers to find enough time to dedicate to the organization.