Lake Champlain Basin Program Continues Work With New Five-Year Plan

CROWN POINT, N.Y. - A large collaboration to clean-up Lake Champlain will continue with a new five-year plan in place.

The Lake Champlain Basin Program announced Monday, it's new plan to improve and restore water quality.

"This plan narrows the focus a little bit from previous plans to really help identify certain priorities,” said Eric Howe, Lake Champlain Basin Program Executive Director.

The new plan will focus the group's resources on four areas, including clean water, healthy eco-systems, thriving communities and informing the public.

Howe said, "What they can do at their home or at their place of work to reduce their impacts, reduce runoff, remove invasive species or whatever the case may be."

This plan is largely based on the collaborative approach that will be taking place over the next five years between communities on the New York side of the lake and Vermont, along with Quebec.

"We are all linked because Lake Champlain is linked to the Richelieu River which flows into the St. Lawrence River which is connected to the great lakes... This is all us, this is all connected and this is no small individual thing,” said David Heurtel, Quebec Minister of Sustainable Development.

In Vermont, Governor Phil Scott proposed a $54 million investment in clean water projects which the legislature came close to meeting, approving $53 million.

"Try and focus on what we can do to cut down on the amount of phosphorus run off on our roads and so forth as well as making sure we are proactive and have the biggest bang for the buck,” said Scott, R- Vermont.

The program was initially established by the feds in 1990, this new plan marks the fourth iteration of the group's mission.

"We know that Lake Champlain is a jewel, there is no doubt about it but more needs to be done to restore and protect this beautiful resource,” said Deborah Szaro, EPA’s New England Region Acting Administrator.

In recent years, the program has implemented new management practices to reduce agricultural pollution from farm fields in Plattsburgh and Burlington.


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