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Missisquoi Bay Agreement
Vermont and Québec share Missisquoi Bay and its 1,200 mi2 (3,100 km2) watershed. In recognition of the deteriorating water quality of the bay, the two governments established a formal commitment to reduce their share of the pollution entering the Bay on August 26, 2002 in Québec City.
The agreement states that Vermont will have 60% of the responsibility for reducing phosphorus loads to the Bay, and Québec will assume 40% of the responsibility. Accordingly, the target phosphorus load for Vermont will be 58.3 metric tons per year (mt/yr), and the target load for Québec will be 38.9 mt/yr. The target loads set by the agreement were based on the June 2000 report of the Québec-Vermont Missisquoi Bay Phosphorus Reduction Task Force, and a subsequent addendum dated October 2001.
The signing of this agreement fulfills a high priority action of the Lake Champlain Management Plan, Opportunities for Action, implemented by the Lake Champlain Basin Program and its partners. The Missisquoi Bay Agreement was also incorporated into the 2002 Lake Champlain Phosphorus Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plan which established maximum allowable phosphorus loads from each sub-watershed in Vermont and New York (the TMDL is currently under revision by the EPA; VT ANR and VAAFM identified a suite of actions necessary to implement in the Vermont portion of the Missisquoi Bay watershed in order to achieve the target phosphorus loads that Vermont committed to achieving and maintaining. These actions include wastewater treatment plant upgrades, best management practices on farms to reduce nutrient runoff, stabilization of stream banks and stream channels, and better stormwater management and erosion control on developed land and roadways.
More recent work has focused on identifying critical source areas in the Missisquoi watershed that contribute substantially more phosphorus to adjacent waterways than other areas.
In support of this agreement, LCBP coordinated a workshop focused on nutrient and cyanobacteria research in Missisquoi Bay on August 13, 2013. More than 20 researchers and resource managers from Québec and Vermont met at the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge in Swanton, VT, as a follow-up workshop to one held in Québec in the winter of 2012. The purpose of this workshop was to allow researchers and resource managers working on water quality issues in the Missisquoi watershed to learn about ongoing research projects, to create networking opportunities for increased cross-border collaborative projects, and to discuss additional needs or support for continued research in this region of the Lake Champlain watershed.
Plans and Documents
- Phosphorus Loading to Missisquoi Bay from Sub-Basins in Vermont and Québec, 2002-2005 | Apport de phosphore vers la baie Missisquoi en provenance des sous-bassins du Vermont et du Québec, 2002 à 2005 November 25, 2008 English | Français
- Missisquoi Bay Phosphorus Reduction Task Force Report, June 2000 English | Français [133 KB PDF]
- Addendum to Missisquoi Bay Phosphorus Reduction Task Force Report, October 2001 English | Français [11 KB PDF]
- Missisquoi Bay Phosphorus Reduction Agreement, August 2002 English | Français [375 KB PDF]
- Missisquoi Bay Watershed Phosphorus Load Monitoring Workplan, May 2005 English | Français [288 KB PDF]
- Missisquoi Bay Phosphorus Reduction Action Plan 2003-2009, September 2004 English
- Reduction du Phosphore Baie Missisquoi, Bilan des actions 2005-2006, Juillet 2005 Français | Executive Summary in English
- Plan d’action concertée de la Corporation Bassin Versant Baie Missisquoi, Bilan 2000-2005, Mars 2006 Français [756 KB PDF]
- Corporation Bassin Versant Baie Missisquoi Rapport Annuel, 2005-2006, Juin 2006 Français
- Final report to the International Joint Commission, October 20, 2004 (PDF file)
- Missisquoi Bay Basin / Bassin versant de la baie Missisquoi (Francais)