Clean Water
Matters!

The diverse ecosystems, working
landscapes, and vibrant communities
that inspire and sustain us depend on
clean water. Learn about pollution
reduction strategies.

Healthy Habitats
Connect Us All

Lakeshores, stream banks, and wetlands are critical to clean
water and biodiversity. Learn about efforts to improve
habitat connectivity in the Basin ecosystem.

We Care for
What We Know

Recreation fosters stewardship of the Basin’s rich
natural and cultural heritage by connecting people
to the landscape while supporting local economies.
Learn about ways to explore the Basin.

Informed Citizens
Make Wiser Choices

Citizens who have an understanding and
appreciation of water resources make informed
choices about actions that might contribute to
pollution. Learn about education programs.

    About Us

    GOAL: Communities have an appreciation of natural and cultural resources, and the capacity to implement actions that will result in sound stewardship of these resources while maintaining strong local economies.

    Any measure of a sustainable society or sustainable watershed must include communities that are thriving, economically and culturally, in a way that is compatible with the protection of water quality and natural resources. Social and economic objectives are cornerstones of traditional definitions of sustainable development. While economic development is beyond the purview of the LCBP and this management plan, the organization can take steps to support and inform efforts by the business community and industry to implement lake-friendly practices that also can contribute to financial objectives in a variety of economic sectors.

    An important first step in articulating the value of a clean lake to the regional economy is a comprehensive assessment of the value of both ecosystem services and the direct financial benefit to the business community, including revenues from recreation and tourism. Working with the business community, including producers such as farmers and loggers, to implement lake-friendly practices, from minor adjustments in everyday operations to large-scale innovation, can help enhance the ecological and economic services provided by clean water. For more than a decade, the LCBP has presented Farm Awards to agricultural producers who implement practices to protect water quality. Extending the awards program concept to other areas, including implementation of effective green stormwater infrastructure, can provide incentives for businesses to adopt more water-wise practices and exhibit leadership.

    Often there is a need in communities to facilitate dialogue among community members, whether they are citizens, local municipal officials, or regulators at the state, provincial and federal levels. With the multiple political jurisdictions and partners working to improve water quality in the Basin, one of the LCBP’s central roles is not only to coordinate the dispersal of resources and efforts, but also to facilitate this dialogue and broker the exchange of information and regulatory requirements. This often takes the form of facilitating public meetings and supporting the dissemination of technical knowledge through trainings and outreach events.

    Much of the work to improve water quality and ecosystem integrity is accomplished by local entities, such as watershed groups, lake associations, municipalities, educational institutions, and other organizations that are embedded within the communities in which they work. Their employees and board members often live in the communities, and much of their work is supported and carried out by volunteers. For this reason, LCBP provides local implementation grants across technical and education and outreach programs that are critical in getting work done on the ground, and in engaging citizens in the protection of these resources. In addition to financial support, the LCBP aids these local organizations by providing training and access to technical resources through events, such as an annual meeting of Lake Champlain watershed groups and other collaborative efforts where community members have the opportunity to learn from each other.

    The history of most of the communities within the Basin is inextricably tied to Lake Champlain and the tributaries that feed it. These interconnected waterways wholly defined the lifeways and character of these towns, villages, and hamlets. An understanding of this past and the historical objects and resources that represent our cultural heritage is critical in fostering an appreciation and valuation of them that leads to their stewardship. The Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) works on many fronts to protect and promote this cultural heritage, and as such the CVNHP Management Plan is integrated into OFA by reference.

    The CVNHP’s Management Plan outlines numerous programs to protect historical resources and interpret their significance for the public. These tasks address long-standing LCBP goals of fostering stronger personal connections between people and resources of the Lake Champlain Basin while supporting the local economy through recreational opportunities. Included in this management plan by reference to specific tasks in the CVNHP, the tasks support research that identifies significant historical and archaeological artifacts and resources, protect and preserve them for future generations, and explain how this past and the resources that represent it has shaped communities and their relationship with the lake.

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    Measures of Success

    Assessing the outcomes or benefits of efforts to improve the health of communities in the context of societal changes is extraordinarily difficult. Some measures of a thriving community, such as economic vibrancy, are relatively easy to track. Metrics for progress are more difficult to define and measure for less tangible characteristics like a strong sense of place, community pride, or even environmental and social resiliency to flooding and climate change. The effects of assisting partners with meeting facilitation, public education efforts, and financial and technical support are indirect and often not immediate. Tangible on-the-ground environmental outcomes (phosphorus reductions, habitat improvement, etc.) of these initiatives are generally realized as a result of technical projects conducted subsequently by their participants. Long-term changes in citizens’ knowledge of water quality issues and changes in behavior are best evaluated with both program-specific evaluations and long-term broad-scale surveys (see Goal IV: Informed and Involved Public). LCBP will work with partners to identify opportunities to evaluate the impact of our programs and determine the rate at which communities and networks within the Basin are adopting water quality improvement measures.

    The Lake Champlain Steering Committee has identified a suite of priorities to reach the goal of thriving communities in the Lake Champlain watershed. LCBP will serve a role to meet each of these priorities:

    • Management partners and members of the public (including the business community) become better informed about watershed issues and take actions to improve condition of the lake.
      The LCBP will facilitate dialogue about resource stewardship and exchange of information between all members of communities within the Basin.
    • Increased citizen understanding of LCBP and partner projects funded with public money that are implemented to clean up and protect the lake.
      The LCBP will serve as facilitator and coordinator of research, management, and implementation activities that result in improvements to the condition of the Lake and watershed.

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    OBJECTIVES

    Objective III.A. Engage and Support Community & Management Partners

    Facilitate work and communication within and among local communities that further watershed protection and restoration efforts.

    NOTE: Task areas identified with ** denote task areas that should be targeted with LCBP funds. Other task areas may be more appropriate for other watershed management agencies or partners to support.

    Strategy Task Area Anticipated Output Outcome
    III.A.1:
    Support local watershed groups
    **III.A.1.a: Financial Resources.
    Provide funds for local watershed groups to implement projects.
    Award local implementation grants annually. Collectively, many of the task areas identified in this objective and the specific tasks supported as part of the annual budget process will achieve a long-term increase in the public’s knowledge of watershed issues and changes in personal behavior.

    Members of the public who are informed about watershed issues are more likely to take and/or encourage stewardship actions that either improve the Lake or decrease impacts.

    Better understanding of LCBP’s work and progress will also lead citizens to be more supportive of the projects undertaken with public money to clean up and protect the Lake.

    **III.A.1.b: Technical Resources
    Provide technical assistance through meetings, workshops, and presentations.
    Conduct annual watershed organization meeting.
    III.A.1.c: Targeted watershed E&O projects.
    Develop and implement local grants program to specifically support priority watersheds: Missisquoi, St. Albans Bay, South Lake A and B
    III.A.2:
    Facilitate and coordinate public messaging with management partners
    III.A.2.a: Annual Meeting
    Conduct annual meeting to share LCBP activities and accomplishments
    Conduct meeting annually.
    **III.A.2.b: Meeting Facilitation.
    Assist partners with facilitating public meetings to inform the public about new legislation, programs, and initiatives
    Meetings conducted on an as-needed basis.
    III.A.2.c: Technical Issue Training.
    Support seminars, workshops, and conferences to deliver technical information on topics such as BMPS, LID, stormwater management technologies, roads management, etc. to municipal and state staff.
    Three programs delivered per OFA cycle.
    III.A.3:
    Enhance flood resilience and climate change adaptation in community planning and development
    III.A.3.a: Outreach
    Support and advise municipalities’ efforts to educate residents about sound river/floodplain management
    Three workshops within OFA update cycle; advise/facilitate meetings on as-needed basis.
    III.A.4:
    Serve as a conduit for information, build professional capacity among stakeholders, and foster strong working relationships among the partners of the CVNHP.
    **III.A.4.a: Support professional development among CVNHP stakeholders, including an annual heritage partnership conference. Host the annual CVNHP International Summit and forward professional development opportunities as they arise.
    **III.A.4.b: Encourage cooperation and enhance communication among partners within the CVNHP. Provide annual funding to support the CVNHP regional stakeholder groups.

    Objective III.B. Support Water-Wise Economic Development

    Support and inform business practices and economic development that promote clean water across multiple economic sectors.

    NOTE: Task areas identified with ** denote task areas that should be targeted with LCBP funds. Other task areas may be more appropriate for other watershed management agencies or partners to support.

    Strategy Task Area Anticipated Output Outcome
    III.B.1:
    Support business innovations that improve water quality
    III.B.1.a: Business/Industry Education OutreachWork with key partners to develop industry-specific outreach initiative One initiative developed within OFA update cycle. Collectively, many of the task areas identified in this objective and the specific tasks supported as part of the annual budget process will achieve a long-term increase in the public’s knowledge of watershed issues and changes in personal behavior.

    Members of the public who are informed about watershed issues are more likely to take and/or encourage stewardship actions that either improve the Lake or decrease impacts.

    Better understanding of LCBP’s work and progress will also lead citizens to be more supportive of the projects undertaken with public money to clean up and protect the Lake.

    III.B.1.b: Innovation Development.
    Provide support to local business to develop and showcase new and innovative practices that support clean water
    One initiative to fund new practice/technology in OFA update cycle.
    III.B.2:
    Assess value of clean water to regional economy
    III.B.2.a: Economic analysis.
    Conduct valuation of clean water and healthy watershed.
    Assessment completed within OFA update cycle.
    III.B.3:
    Support working landscapes that help protect water quality
    III.B.3.a: BMP Implementation.
    Provide financial and technical assistance to support practices that help protect water quality.
    One initiative implemented per OFA update cycle.
    III.B.3.b: Outreach Assistance.
    Support producers’ efforts to promote their actions to protect water quality.
    One outreach initiative in OFA update cycle.
    III.B.3.c: Awards Program.
    Continue and implement new programs that recognize effective practices to protect water quality.
    Annual awards.
    III.B.4:
    Support implementation of green stormwater infrastructure (GSI)
    III.B.4.a: Awards/Recognition Program
    .
    Initiate a program that recognizes effective implementation of GSI.
    Establishment of one program in OFA update cycle.
    III.B.5:
    Coordinate efforts among partners to promote the CVNHP as a world-class destination for heritage travelers.
    III.B.5.a:.
    Develop and maintain a consistent regional brand related to the interpretive themes of the CVNHP.
    Each year, focus on one of the three interpretive themes of the CVNHP.
    III.B.5.b:.
    Use the CVNHP website to promote the region.
    Update and maintain the website as needed.
    III.B.5.c:.
    Support the development of bilingual materials, interpretation, and services.
    Provide translation services as needed.
    III.B.6:
    Foster a sustainable relationship between people and the natural and cultural resources of the CVNHP
    III.B.6.a:.
    Focus on land use changes and effects of stormwater runoff on water quality.
    Provide free wayside exhibit design services for interpreting stormwater.
    III.B.6.b:.
    Support the development of bilingual materials, interpretation, and services.
    Provide translation services as needed.
    III.B.6.c:.
    Promote sustainable agriculture practices in the CVNHP.
    Produce and distribute a CVNHP agricultural/gardening guide.

    Objective III.C. Support Awareness and Conservation of Cultural Heritage Resources

    Increase understanding of the region’s cultural and historical resources. Greater understanding leads to greater appreciation, which leads to enhanced stewardship of these resources.

    NOTE: Task areas identified with ** denote task areas that should be targeted with LCBP funds. Other task areas may be more appropriate for other watershed management agencies or partners to support.

    Strategy Task Area Anticipated Output Outcome
    III.C.1:
    Build on existing knowledge, make new discoveries of the history, culture, and special resources of the CVNHP, and make this information accessible to all
    **III.C.1.a:
    Provide support for needed historical and archeological research, and accelerate the identification, evaluation, protection, and interpretation of heritage resources, including ethnographies of the cultures within the CVNHP.
    Provide five CVNHP grants annually to implement Strategy III.C.1 Tasks and outputs under this strategy will increase accessibility of CVNHP resources to stakeholders and community groups
    III.C.1.b:
    Manage a comprehensive online heritage resource database.
    Staff and Regional Stakeholder Group coordinators will annually review and update the resource database.
    III.C.2:
    Support the conservation of the historical, archeological, natural and cultural resources of the CVNHP
    III.C.2.a:
    Develop a voluntary stewardship program to strengthen non-regulatory protection of cultural and natural heritage resources.
    Volunteer opportunities built with partner groups to raise awareness of cultural and natural heritage resources. Tasks and outputs under this strategy will raise awareness of cultural and natural heritage resources throughout the CVNHP and will promote protection of these resources.
    III.C.2.b:
    Develop and implement CVNHP cultural and natural heritage resource protection programs.
    Grant programs supporting protection of CVNHP heritage resources.
    III.C.2.c:
    Develop and implement a management strategy for underwater cultural heritage (CH) resources in the CVNHP.
    Convene an annual meeting among underwater cultural heritage resource stakeholders.

    Objective III.D. Support Lake and Basin Recreation

    Foster stewardship of the Basin’s land and waters, and support local economies, by connecting individuals and communities to the landscape.

    NOTE: Task areas identified with ** denote task areas that should be targeted with LCBP funds. Other task areas may be more appropriate for other watershed management agencies or partners to support.

    Strategy Task Area Anticipated Output Outcome
    III.D.1:
    Provide sustainable and accessible recreational opportunities for everyone within the CVNHP
    **III.D.1.a:
    Support initiatives that promote sustainable recreational activities that feature the natural, cultural, and historical resources in the CVNHP.
    Provide information on recreation opportunities on the CVNHP website. Increased public access to waters in the basin and the CVNHP for residents and visitors.
    III.D.1.b:
    Increase and improve public access opportunities to the waterbodies of the basin and interconnected waterways of the CVNHP for diverse recreational activities.
    Annually, fund one recreation project that supports sustainable and accessible recreation and interprets the resources featured.
    **III.D.1.c:
    Support a public information program that emphasizes recreational ethics, public safety, sustainable use, and stewardship of cultural and natural resources.
    Include an AIS message on all water-based products developed through CVNHP funding.

    Partner watershed management plans related to this strategy:

    • USFWS, Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office, Schoolyard Habitat Program: The mission of the Schoolyard Habitat Program in the Lake Champlain Basin is to get students outside to experience nature. To accomplish this, biologists help schools create natural spaces on school grounds where students can observe, draw, write, think and question. Schoolyard Habitat projects provide habitat for local and migratory wildlife, including songbirds, small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects. In many cases, these habitats also provide a vegetative buffer to nearby streams, lakes and wetlands, reducing pollution reaching these waterways. https://www.fws.gov/lcfwro/

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    Lake Champlain Basin Program

    Lake Champlain Basin Program
    54 West Shore Road
    Grand Isle, VT 05458
    800-468-5227 (NY & VT)
    or 802-372-3213