2011 | Issue #14
GRANT AWARDS EXCEED $1.1 MILLION
On November 30, 2010 the
Lake Champlain Basin Program awarded nearly $1.2 million in grants to
local organizations through two separate funding programs.
The Local Implementation
grant program supports efforts to increase community involvement in the
implementation of Opportunities for Action, the long-term
comprehensive management plan for the lake. More than $775,000 was made
available from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the EPA with
appropriations supported by Senator Patrick Leahy. The grants fund
projects in four categories:preventing the spread of aquatic invasive
species, pollution prevention, education and outreach, and
organizational support for watershed organizations.The amount of the
awards for pollution prevention and aquatic invasive species grants
increased to $25,000 this year. Fourteen education and outreach
projects received up to $7,500 and organizational grants as much as
$3,000. Project examples include wetland monitoring along the Boquet
River, rapid response to the newly discovered
Asian clam in Lake George, stormwater improvement projects throughout
the Lake Champlain Basin, and school outreach programs.
Water Quality Improvement
Grants were awarded for projects that will implement water quality
protection measures on agricultural operations in the Southern Lake
Champlain watershed. These projects will help reduce phosphorus
pollution in Lake Champlain. The $400,000 in funding for this program
comes from the Lake Champlain Mitigation Funds paid as a result of a
court-ordered settlement that was provided to the LCBP by the Attorneys
General of New York and Vermont. Funded projects include a waste
treatment system for milk house waste water, barnyard runoff
management, and farm exclusion fencing.
Image: A Cross Vermont
Trail Association work crew helps to install erosion control in an area
where roadway runoff threatens to undermine the trail. Photo by CVTA.
WELCOMES NEW COMMUNICATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS COORDINATOR
Ryan Mitchell came on board as Communications and Publications
Coordinator in January. Ryan coordinates content development, editing,
and graphic design for LCBP publications, websites, and exhibits, and
assists with education and outreach programs. Ryan has a B.S. in Natural
Resources from the University of Connecticut and an M.S. in Geography
from Portland State University. His past experience includes work in
environmental permitting at the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey, publications at Earthwatch Institute, and education outreach at
the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Geographic Alliance. Most recently he
has worked in GIS at the City of South Burlington's Stormwater Services
division and at the UVM Spatial Analysis Lab. He lives in Burlington with
his wife and two sons.
AND OUTREACH INTERNS JOIN LCBP TEAM
Two new interns joined the Education and Outreach team for
Alice Drislane has been working on the "Don't P on the Lawn"
campaign and with visitors to the LCBP Resource Room at the ECHO Lake
Aquarium and Science Center. Alice was one of the first employees in the
"old blue box" (the Lake Champlain Basin Science Center) back
in 1995 serving as Office Manager and working in public programming.
Since then, Alice spent two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Belize,
taught adult education and at CCV, and ran her own perennial gardening
business. To learn more about Alice's work with the "Don't P on your
Lawn" campaign, please visit www.lawntolake.org.
Becca Rimmel has joined the Basin Program team to continue her work in
improving Lake Champlain's water quality. She has spent the last five
years working for environmental non-profits in Vermont, including Audubon
Vermont and the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center. When not working,
Becca fills her time by snapping photographs of amazing subjects in
Vermont and the New England area.
GREAT FALL SALMON RUN!
During the early years of
European settlement in the Lake Champlain Basin, landlocked Atlantic
salmon (the same species as anadromous Atlantic salmon) were a common sight.
During their fall spawning season, they could be seen making their way up
some of the major tributaries to Lake Champlain, such as the Winooski,
Saranac, Ausable and Boquet Rivers. Sometime during the late 1800s
Atlantic salmon populations in Lake Champlain started to decline-and then
they disappeared entirely. Scientists have identified over-fishing and
increasing Sea Lamprey populations as the primary causes of this
After several attempts to
restock landlocked Atlantic salmon in Lake Champlain tributaries, the New
York State Department of Environmental Conservation finally had some
success during a new program initiative in 1976. Since then, an
increasing number of salmon have spawned in the Boquet River.Emily
Zollweg, Fisheries Biologist for NYSDEC, said that the 2010 salmon run
was "the biggest run in many, many years-since the early
1990s," with a total of 51 landlocked Atlantic salmon counted by
DEC. A large number of salmon also migrated up the Winooski River this
fall, where over 130 salmon were trapped by the Winooski-One
Hydroelectric facility's fish lift. These numbers are encouraging signs
that restocking efforts are working!
Image: Dave Gibson of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Dept.
and Nick Staats of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service collect data on
spawning salmon. Photo by LCBP.
CLAMS INVADE LAKE GEORGE
For the past four years,
the LCBP has hosted a Rapid Response workgroup to address the arrival of
new invasive species in the watershed. In August 2010 the Asian clam Corbicula
fluminea was discovered in Lake George, New York. This small
bivalve is native to tropical areas in Asia, the eastern Mediterranean,
and Australia. Although it's a small animal, it can densely cover
large areas of underwater surfaces. Researchers investigating the
presence of clams in Lake George found concentrations of up to 600 clams
per square meter that covered an area of up to 2.5 acres just off of Lake
Avenue Beach in Lake George Village.
If not controlled, the
Asian clams can clog intake pipes, impact algae blooms by increasing
phosphorus levels, and displace native mussel species such as the Eastern
Elliptio. To avoid potential impacts to the Lake George ecosystem, the
Darrin Fresh Water Institute, the Lake George Park Commission, the Lake
George Association, the FUND for Lake George, the NYS Department of Environmental
Conservation, the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, and the Lake
Champlain Basin Program developed a rapid response eradication plan. This
plan, which uses benthic barrier mats to smother the clams, was piloted
in October and November 2010 and proved to be successful. The Lake George
Asian Clam Rapid Response Task Force has been meeting weekly to evaluate
the pilot study and plan a full scale eradication effort to be launched
in Spring 2011.
Because Asian clams can
spread by being moved in contaminated sediment or water taken from
directly above contaminated areas, it is extremely important that all
boaters take the time to wash their boats and all of their equipment
before entering or exiting Lake George or other bodies of water.
Image: Rapid Response Task Force partners lay benthic
barrier mats. Photo by LCBP.
PHOSPHORUS SOURCES IN MISSISQUOI WATERSHED
In partnership with the
International Joint Commission (IJC), LCBP continued efforts in 2010 to
identify sources of phosphorus and reduce loading into Missisquoi Bay. In
April LCBP awarded a contract for the Identification of Critical
Source Areas of Phosphorus Pollution within the Vermont Sector of the
Missisquoi Bay Basin to Stone Environmental, Inc. This study will
help resource managers identify the location and type of areas to target
for better land stewardship. The program coordinated the acquisition of
560 square miles of high-quality digital elevation data for use in
hydrologic modeling. In addition, LCBP staff presented a project overview
at two IJC Public Outreach meetings in Swanton, VT and St. Armand, QC,
and collected water quality
samples at five tributaries to the Missisquoi River, including during 14
The work is part of a
coordinated research program initiated by the IJC and LCBP at the request
of the U.S. and Canadian governments in August 2008. LCBP was tasked with
defining appropriate research methodologies, quality assurance, and
ensuring proper peer review for the work. Two appropriations from the
U.S. Congress totaling $800,000, secured with the help of Senator Leahy,
support this work. LCBP staff and contractors will complete this project
in 2011, with a final report anticipated in September.
Image: LCBP staff collect
water samples on Black Creek in Sheldon, VT. Photo by LCBP.
This winter the LCBP
Resource Room has been filled with activity and new exhibits. Luckily,
our staff is now assisted by six exceptional volunteers who help with
daily operations and take on special projects. Because of our close
partnership with ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, Resource Room
volunteers Susan Grasso and Holly Puterbaugh were both recently
recognized as ECHO "Volunteers of the Week." Thanks also to
Faye Baker, Diane Cohen, Dave Hathaway and Sara Lesperance. We couldn't
do it without you!
The new Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership is
highlighted in a new display and an expanded collection of maps, books
and brochures. The Heritage Partnership brings our focus beyond the Basin
to the interconnected waterways of Lake Champlain, Lake George, the
Champlain Canal and the Upper Hudson River. With this new designation
there are many new places to explore and stories to tell!
This fall the Resource
Room's popular Discovery Cabinet launched a "Clean Water
Rangers" program. The program encourages youngsters to take actions
that help the lake, earning stickers for their efforts. As always, the
changing seasons bring new books, tools and educational toys. When the
snowflakes fly, home winterization, ski touring and animal tracking resources
are perennial favorites. Inspired by ECHO's temporary exhibit "Raise
the Roof" we are also featuring books and displays on architecture.
In addition to the elegant buildings of our region, we have information
on animal architecture, including a fascinating display of wasp nests.
Stop by the LCBP Resource Room and check it out!
Image: Resource Room staffer Laura Hollowell helps visiting
high school students. Photo by LCBP.
TO OUR FRIEND, CAPTAIN DICK FURBUSH, UVM MELOSIRA
In December, a long time
friend of the Lake Champlain Basin Program, Captain Dick Furbush stepped
into retirement. We hope that Dick will enjoy many long and sunny
afternoons fishing and exploring with his grandchildren! Dick has been a
tireless supporter of lake research investigations for more than three
decades. He guided the Melosira through thousands of field trips
and sampling opportunities and, in his own soft spoken voice, patiently
provided scientific insight to so many students and adults who were
privileged to share his lake journey.
Through his work at UVM,
Dick has been a partner in many lake projects in which the LCBP has
played a role including the Burlington Bay Project, blue green algae
sampling and many fisheries research projects. We know Dick as an avid
fisherman and fellow lake steward, providing assistance with historical
lake research, bathymetric studies and water quality monitoring from
Missisquoi Bay to Whitehall. We are also truly thankful for the time Dick
spent with basin teachers in the Champlain Basin Education Initiative
since 1991, sharing his stories and technical expertise with both them
and their students. We wish him the best in retirement!
Image: Dick Furbush shares
fish samples with Vermont teachers. Photo by LCBP.
Office in Grand Isle:
(802) 372-3213 or (800) 468-5227 (toll-free in NY &
LCBP Resource Room: The Resource Room
at The Leahy Center for Lake Champlain (top floor of ECHO Lake
Aquarium & Science Center) is open to the public seven
days/week. Call (802) 864-1848 ext. 109 for more information.