Did you know the best pollution filters in the Lake Champlain Basin are located in what is left of its natural Sandplain community? You cannot replicate what these natural habitats do for the overall water quality of the lake. They’re irreplaceable. Formed 10,000 years ago all around the lake, today just 4% of the Sandplains of colonial times remain in Chittenden County.

We are lucky to have the remnants of one in Malletts Bay. It’s on town land at the 14-acre Bayside-Hazelett woods. Unfortunately, Town officials are not interested in preserving it — even though Colchester already has seven parks totaling over 100 acres. They’ve just spent $215,000 without voter approval for design plans for another park there. That’s atop another $167,000 already spent.

So, they are serious about transforming what the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, calls a “rare pine oak heath” that provides homes to disappearing plants, animals, and birds – all “adapted to sandplains.” The Town also has a 2014 report from Green Leaf Forestry that concludes there are “endangered” red pitch pines there too.

Here’s a question for the members of our Selectboard, our Planning Commission, our Town Manager, Town Planner, and Recreational Director:

How can you honestly say you are concerned about water quality in Inner Malletts Bay when you’re actively seeking to destroy one of its best natural filters?

Scott Wood

Member, Colchester

Conservation Commission

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