Disadvantaged Communities in the Lake Champlain Basin

The LCBP is working in collaboration with management partners to develop a definition a “disadvantaged community” that will be used to help prioritize projects for LCBP funding in 2023 and beyond. Public comments will be accepted between November 18, 2022 and December 12, 2022. Please submit comments using the form linked here.

LCBP has reviewed relevant U.S. federal and state agency definitions of ‘disadvantaged’ or ‘environmental justice’ communities to identify metrics commonly included in these definitions (see supporting information). Using EPA guidance and considering which commonly used metrics are best aligned with LCBP’s mission, we propose to include the following socioeconomic criteria in LCBP’s definition:

  • 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

These proposed datasets originate primarily from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and are available at the census block group level. The thresholds we will use to determine if a community qualifies as an underserved community have not yet been determined (e.g. a community with median household income <80% of the area median income would be considered disadvantaged). We propose that any community that meets one or more of these criteria would be considered a disadvantaged community

These metrics will be used as an additional lens when considering funding for projects that meet the EPA-approved criteria identified in Opportunities for Action: an Evolving Plan for the Future of the Lake Champlain Basin.

LCBP recognizes that communities can be impacted by factors that are not solely related to socioeconomic indicators. In addition to the socioeconomic criteria that will be used in LCBP’s definition of disadvantaged community, we propose to make a variety of environmental quality related datasets that align with LCBP’s mission available to grantees. The degree to which a community is impacted by any one or more of these environmental quality indicators will be weighed to help prioritize projects within underserved communities. Identifying these environmental quality datasets that are most aligned with LCBP’s mission and making them available will help ensure that all LCBP grant applicants have the same information available when justifying the importance of their project, and removes the barrier of grant applicants needing to find this information themselves.

Supporting information

List of federal and state definitions considered:

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