Photo Credit: Jessica Boone
The Missisquoi River Basin is the 855 square miles outlined in the map where all precipitation and surface water drain into the Missisquoi River.
The mainstem of the Missisquoi River runs 88 miles from the headwaters to the river delta. From the confluence of the Burgess Branch and East Branch in Lowell, Vermont, the Missisquoi River flows north through the towns of Westfield and Troy before crossing the Canadian border 25 miles downstream. The Rivière Missisquoi, as the river is known in Québécois, meanders in a gentle arc for about 15 miles through the very southern edge of Canada’s Quebec Province. The Missisquoi River then returns to Vermont in East Richford and meanders west for about 48 miles through the towns of Richford, Berkshire, Enosburgh, Sheldon, Highgate and Swanton. The Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge protects the delta, where the river branches out and drains into the Missisquoi Bay of Lake Champlain.
Land use practices over the past few centuries have degraded water quality in the Missisquoi River and Bay. The Missisquoi Bay now accounts for over one third of all non-point source phosphorus in Lake Champlain. Phase 1 of the Implementation Plan for the Lake Champlain TMDL calls for a 75% reduction in phosphorus inputs into Missisquoi Bay.
To achieve this goal, the Missisquoi River Basin must take an all in approach to reducing phosphorus input into our rivers and streams.