New Lake Champlain Health Report Highlights Progress and Challenges

Note: A list of key highlights and takeaways is available at

Grand Isle, VT – The Patrick Leahy Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) released the 2024 State of the Lake and Ecosystem Indicators Report today. Drawing on the most recent scientific data, the report provides a comprehensive assessment of the condition of Lake Champlain.

The report documents ongoing challenges and recent successes in the management of the lake’s water quality and ecosystem. Produced every three years, the report reflects the most current scientific data and resource management approaches. The report’s Ecosystem Indicators Scorecard provides the status and trend for key water quality and ecosystem parameters.

Dr. Eric Howe, NEIWPCC Program Director of the Lake Champlain Basin Program, said, “Sound science and evidence-based management is more important than ever. The 2024 State of the Lake Report provides a timely update on what the data is telling us about our progress and remaining challenges in protecting clean water and habitat in the Lake Champlain basin.”

“The State of the Lake provides high-quality information to guide EPA and our partners on how to improve water quality and conserve important habitat for people who live, work, and play in the Basin,” said EPA Region 1 Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “While the data shows improvements in water quality and fish and wildlife habitat, we still have a lot of work to do, including significantly further reductions in nutrient pollution to the lake.”

“Lake Champlain is a jewel, and EPA is proud to continue to address and improve water quality from harmful run-off and other challenges facing the lake,” said EPA Region 2 Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. “As this report illustrates, conditions in the lake are improving but threats like climate change remain.”

“The State of the Lake Report is an important resource for understanding the health of the Lake Champlain ecosystem,” said Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore. “This report brings together valuable data from all three jurisdictions that surround Lake Champlain – Vermont, New York and Quebec – painting a comprehensive picture of lake health and providing insights that guide our shared work that will help restore and sustain Lake Champlain for generations to come.”

“DEC and the Lake Champlain Basin Program have worked together for decades to address water quality and environmental challenges facing Lake Champlain,” New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar said. “As the impacts of climate change present real and tangible challenges to protect our waterways, I join all of the partners of this program in celebrating the successes noted in the most recent State of the Lake report and the collective efforts to protect and support this vital body of water and the watershed system that feeds it.”

Marie-Claude Francoeur, Québec Delegate to New England, said, “It is with great enthusiasm that the Québec government welcomes the release of the 2024 State of the Lake and Ecosystem Indicators Report. We look forward to continue actively working with our partners from Vermont and New York State on the management of the Lake Champlain and its basin for the benefit of current and future generations. I want to once again thank and congratulate the LCBP team and the various committees for their efforts towards the many successes highlighted in the report as well as their tireless work tackling the challenges that remain.”

Susan Sullivan, NEIWPCC Executive Director, said, “NEIWPCC is excited that the State of the Lake report continues to show the work that NEIWPCC’s Lake Champlain Basin Program and our partners do to support the watershed.”

The impacts of climate change are among the greatest challenges. The lake—which froze over nearly every year in the past—now freezes once every five years and is expected to freeze over just once per decade by 2050.

More frequent and intense rainstorms like those experienced in the Lake Champlain Basin in 2023 will likely cause increased erosion and nutrient loading to the lake. Warmer air and lake temperatures work against efforts to reduce the occurrence of cyanobacteria blooms, which continue to close beaches on the hottest summer days.

Despite these challenges, water quality monitoring on the lake provides hope in some areas that historically have been problematic. For example, while still higher than the target, phosphorus concentrations in Missisquoi Bay show a general downward trend since 2018.

The report includes several other positive findings on clean water and ecosystem health. Mercury levels in all monitored sport fish have returned to a downward trend, after an upward trend observed in the 2018 report.

Atlantic salmon are native to Lake Champlain and prized by anglers, but wounding by sea lamprey has contributed to population declines. Wounding rates have been below targeted limits for the last three years, improving the viability of restoration efforts.

No new aquatic invasive species (AIS) have been documented since 2018, despite threats from AIS in surrounding waterbodies. The round goby, an aquatic invasive of particular concern, is “on the doorstep” of Lake Champlain. Partners throughout the basin are working proactively to prevent its introduction to the basin.

A healthy Lake Champlain relies on communities that have the capacity to implement programs to protect the Basin’s resources and individuals who are involved as stewards of the Lake. The 2024 State of the Lake reports that residents are aware of water quality challenges and prioritize clean water in their communities, but more work is needed to transform awareness into action.

New programs that provide free access to recreation and cultural resources are increasing enjoyment of the lake and participation in its management. Multilingual outreach and messaging are helping to better inform members of diverse communities about fishing regulations, water quality, and human health.

The report follows the framework of the LCBP’s management plan Opportunities for Action, which defines the following four goals: Clean Water, Healthy Ecosystems, Informed and Involved Public, and Thriving Communities. It is informed by the expertise of dozens of scientific and resource management partners.

Free copies of the 2024 State of the Lake Report are available by calling the Lake Champlain Basin Program at (802) 372-3213. An electronic version may be found at A French version of the full document will be posted online in late June. 

For more information, please call Eric Howe at (802) 372-3213 or email


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, finances, and contracts. NEIWPCC is a program partner of LCBP. 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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