Lake Champlain Basin Program Seeks Public Input on Proposed Definition for Disadvantaged Community

Grand Isle, VT – The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) seeks public comments on criteria to be included in a draft definition of a “disadvantaged community” that will be used to help prioritize projects for LCBP funding in 2023 and beyond. Public comments will be accepted through December 12, 2022.

The LCBP is collaborating with partners to develop a definition that includes several socioeconomic criteria. The LCBP reviewed relevant U.S. federal and state agency definitions of ‘disadvantaged’ or ‘environmental justice’ communities to identify commonly used metrics. Based on this review, the Program proposes a suite of socioeconomic criteria that follow U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance and align with the mission of the LCBP:

  • Estimated prevalence of cancer
  • High school degree non-attainment
  • Housing cost burden
  • Lack of access to indoor plumbing
  • Linguistic isolation/limited English proficiency
  • Median household income
  • National School Lunch Program eligibility
  • Poverty rate
  • Presence of tribal lands or sites of cultural importance (state or federally recognized tribes)
  • Prevalence of mobile/manufactured homes
  • Unemployment

The definition will be used with other scientific and resource management criteria for LCBP programming and competitive grant processes to evaluate the applicability of proposals to the goals and objectives of Opportunities for Action, the LCBP’s plan for managing the Lake Champlain watershed.

The LCBP is subject to President Biden’s Justice40 Executive Order to develop an EPA-approved definition of a disadvantaged community. Justice40 is a commitment to ensuring that 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.

The Lake Champlain Steering Committee will approve the LCBP definition in mid-December 2022, and the LCBP will submit the approved definition to the EPA for preliminary approval by the end of the year. The LCBP will then develop and publish a map of communities within the U.S. portion of the Lake Champlain Basin that meet the definition within the context of the water quality and watershed health work supported by the Program.

A second public comment period will be offered in early 2023, when the initial map of identified communities is available. LCBP staff will reach out directly to communities for feedback during this second public comment period. The LCBP may submit a revised definition based on this input to EPA by early summer 2023.

For more information about the criteria and resources used to establish this proposed definition of disadvantaged communities, please visit the LCBP website.

Comments may be submitted directly on the Disadvantaged Community Proposed Definition comment form.

For more information about the proposed definition of “disadvantaged community” or the LCBP’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts, please contact Mae Kate Campbell at


The Lake Champlain Basin Program coordinates and funds efforts that benefit the Lake Champlain Basin’s water quality, fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, recreation, and cultural resources. The program works in partnership with federal agencies, state and provincial agencies from New York, Vermont, and Québec, local communities, businesses, and citizen groups. NEIWPCC—a regional commission that helps the states of the Northeast preserve and advance water quality—serves as the primary program administrator of LCBP at the request of the Lake Champlain Steering Committee and administers the program’s personnel and finances. LCBP is a program partner of NEIWPCC. For further information, contact the Lake Champlain Basin Program, 54 West Shore Road, Grand Isle, VT at (802) 372-3213 / (800) 468-5227 or visit

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