Clean Water

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.

    Water & Environment

    Did You Know?

    About a third of New York’s 6 million-acre Adirondack Park is in the Lake Champlain watershed.
    Find out more

    Monitoring Programs

    water samplingThe Lake Champlain Basin Program currently helps fund several on-going monitoring programs, including the Vermont Lay Monitoring Program, the Lake Champlain Long-term Water Quality and Biological Monitoring Program, and blue-green algae monitoring conducted by the non-profit Lake Champlain Committee and the State of Vermont. The LCBP also has supported programs in the past that provided critical baseline data for the current management plan. Although inactive today, these former programs could be started again if needed.

    State & Provincial Programs

    New York, Vermont, and Québec independently conduct several important monitoring programs.

    On-Going Monitoring Programs

    The National Atmospheric Deposition Program’s Mercury Deposition Network (NADP/MDN)

    NADP/MDN operates sites across North America to monitor total mercury in wet-deposition, and has provided long-term deposition trends since the early 1990s. The single goal of this project is to monitor the rate at which mercury and other pollutants such as sulfate and nitrate move into the environment in Northern Vermont. Measurement of mercury in ambient precipitation began in Underhill Center, VT in 1992. Event-based sampling and analyses have continued at this location since that time, making this site what is believed to be the longest continuous event-based record for mercury in precipitation in the world. The NADP/MDN program is currently funded through 2016 by a joint agreement between the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and the LCBP.

    Blue-green Algae Monitoring Program

    Since 2004 the Lake Champlain Committee has trained citizens to distinguish algae from other lake phenomena and report on the presence and absence of blue-green algae blooms on a weekly basis during the summer. The LCC provides critical data on where and when blooms are happening and is relied on by municipal and state agencies to assess whether the water is safe for swimming.

    Lake Champlain Long-term Water Quality and Biological Monitoring Project

    The Long-Term Water Quality and Biological Monitoring Project for Lake Champlain began in 1992 and is conducted by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation with funding provided by the LCBP and the two states. This program also conducts zebra mussel monitoring.

    Vermont Lay Monitoring Program

    The Lay Monitoring Program of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has used citizen volunteers to monitor eutrophication-related parameters at approximately 20 Lake stations during the summer season each year since 1979. Through use of consistent methods, the Lay Monitoring Program has provided a valuable long-term database with secchi depth readings and levels of total phosphorus and chlorophyll a.

    Vermont Surface Water Monitoring Strategy

    In 2010, the VT DEC Watershed Management Division released the Vermont Surface Water Management Strategy to describe the management of pollutants and stressors that affect the uses and values of Vermont’s surface waters. This strategy presents goals, objectives and approaches for the protection and management of Vermont’s surface waters, and will help to guide future decision-making efforts to ensure efficient, predictable, consistent and coordinated management actions.

    Past Monitoring Programs

    The Atmospheric Integrated Research Monitoring Network (AIRMoN)

    AIRMoN provided a daily temporal resolution of wet deposition in the Eastern U.S. that facilitates pollutant source identification. The AIRMoN program ended in 2013 due to federal funding constraints. The LCBP was able to support this program for a number of years after traditional federal funding sources were withdrawn.

    Lake Champlain Diagnostic-Feasibility Study

    Initiated in 1989 as a joint project between the States of Vermont and New York, the Lake Champlain Diagnostic-Feasibility Study measured phosphorus loadings to Lake Champlain and modeled the Lake’s water quality response to those loadings. Phosphorus loadings to Lake Champlain were measured over two years by sampling tributaries, direct wastewater discharges, and precipitation in the Basin. Phosphorus concentrations in the Lake also were sampled during this period to provide baseline measurements for the development of a whole-lake phosphorus model.

    Using these monitoring data, a phosphorus budget was developed for Lake Champlain that factors contributions from major sources of phosphorus into the budget. A phosphorus model for the Lake also was developed to analyze the Lake’s response to inputs of phosphorus. This model was used to develop phosphorus load reduction strategies to achieve the in-lake phosphorus concentration criteria agreed upon by New York, Québec, and Vermont.

    Lake Champlain Sediment Toxic Assessment Program

    The Lake Champlain Sediment Toxic Assessment Program documented in detail the nature and extent of toxic contaminants in the sediments of Lake Champlain. In June 1991, 30 sites lakewide were analyzed for trace metals and trace organic contaminants. Based upon this survey, nine sites were more intensively studied in 1991-1992. The study found widely varying patterns of contaminant distribution, and three areas of the Lake were designated as Sites of Concern, including Cumberland Bay, Outer Malletts Bay, and Inner Burlington Harbor. Solid phase and sediment pore water toxicity tests performed using sediments taken from these sites revealed acute and chronic impacts to Ceriodaphnia dubia and Daphnia magna (zooplankton). Additional testing showed that Mysis relicta, a freshwater shrimp which is an important link in the Lake’s food web, accumulates sediment-associated PCBs. The executive summary of the resulting report is available for download (contact the LCBP for the full report).

    Rotating Intensive Basin Studies (RIBS)

    The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation statewide surface water monitoring program has been conducted under the RIBS sampling program since 1987. The RIBS sampling program rotates among groups of drainage basins over a five-year period,covering all drainage basins in New York twice per decade. Major tributaries to Lake Champlain in New York were sampled in 1987-8, 1993-1994, 1998-9, 2003-5, and 2008-10 for chemical and biological parameters, including macroinvertebrate communities and tissues, fisheries, water column composition and characteristics, bottom sediment composition, and toxicity testing. The most recent available report summarizes the RIBS monitoring in the Champlain basin through 2001; in general, water quality of the tributary network on the NY side of the Champlain basin is good good and the macroinvertebrate community has not been impacted.


    What is the State of the Lake?

    What is the
    State of the Lake?

    Learn about the health of Lake Champlain in the 2018 State of the Lake report. Read about trends in key indicators of water quality and ecosystem health. Read the State of the Lake report


    Make Some Waves

    From using lake-friendly cleaning products to volunteering with a local watershed group, you can help restore and protect the Lake Champlain Basin. Find out how you can get involved

    Track Our Progress

    Track Our Progress

    Explore the goals and actions of our partners and track our progress online with the Opportunities for Action website. View Opportunities for Action

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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