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2018 State of the Lake & Ecosystem Indicators Report

Four goals outlined in the 2017 version of the Lake Champlain management plan Opportunities for Action—clean water, healthy ecosystems, thriving communities, and an informed and involved public—serve as the framework for much of the LCBP’s work, including the 2018 State of the Lake and Ecosystems Indicators Report. The report presents the most recent information on the conditions of Lake Champlain and its watershed and highlights the results of some of the management actions taken to achieve the four goals.

It is often said that Lake Champlain is not one lake, but several water bodies joined together. The main segment of the Lake is deep and cold, the northeast areas are shallower and warmer, and the southern end of the Lake resembles a river flowing northward. These differences make it challenging to easily summarize the state of the Lake. Five distinct segments have been used by scientists since the 1970s to describe the major regions of the Lake: Main Lake, Missisquoi Bay, Northeast Arm, South Lake, and Malletts Bay.

The State of the Lake Summary highlights key issues related to the LCBP’s four management goals for each of the five major lake segments. The Ecosystem Indicators Scorecard provides information on the current status and trends for nine indicators of lake health for each of these five segments. Click below to learn more.

Download the full report, summary, and scorecard here.

Clean and Clear Action Plan

The Vermont Clean and Clear Action Plan was initiated in 2003 with the goal of accelerating the reduction of phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain and reducing related pollutants in waters statewide. The state appropriated more than $42 million for Clean and Clear over the first five years of this effort, and Vermont’s commitment to Clean and Clear stimulated an additional $42 million in federal funds for supporting programs. As a result, the Agencies of Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Transportation were able to greatly expand their programs to implement the phosphorus loading reductions required by the Lake Champlain Phosphorus Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan, and to address similar water quality needs statewide.

Act 64, the “Clean Water Act”

In 2015 the state of Vermont passed Act No. 64, enacting multiple statutes related to water quality in the state. This legislation establishes a Clean Water Fund through a 0.2 percent property tax transfer through July 1st 2018 with long-term funding solutions still to be determined. Act 64 also defines new regulatory practices including Required Agricultural Practices (RAPs) for farmers, revised stormwater permitting authority for the Agency of Natural Resources, and other regulations aimed at improving water quality in Vermont. Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for nutrient runoff into lakes and rivers were originally set as part of the Federal Clean Water Act but were updated in 2016 as part of Act 64. A number of important conservation programs and partnerships have emerged as a result of Act 64.

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