April 28, 2020 – In a recent report card delivered to the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) applauded Vermont’s progress toward reaching Lake Champlain cleanup goals.
“EPA continues to be pleased with the quantity and quality of work completed since passage of Act 64 [the Vermont Clean Water Act of 2015],” said Melville Coté, Chief of the EPA Region 1 Surface Water Protection Branch. “DEC’s 2019 Performance Report indicates that actions tracked by the state so far have resulted in an estimated reduction of 17 metric tons of phosphorus per year, or about eight percent of the total reduction target […] We are anticipating that phosphorus reduction amounts will increase substantially over the next five years or so. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with you on this important work.”
The Lake Champlain cleanup is a decades-long endeavor, requiring steadfast stewardship and action across Vermont’s land-base that drains to Lake Champlain – spanning about half the state.
The State of Vermont is breaking down this long-term and regional effort into more manageable five-year planning increments at the local river-basin scale through its “Tactical Basin Planning” process. Tactical Basin Plans target priority actions necessary to meet phosphorus reduction goals. EPA assesses Vermont’s progress halfway through and at the close of each five-year planning cycle and issues interim and final report cards.
“We are pleased to hear from EPA that just a few years into the 20-year recovery plan for Lake Champlain, we are on the right track,” said Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore. “We understand it will take many years to address nutrient pollution and reduce the frequency and intensity of blooms of harmful cyanobacteria in Lake Champlain. We welcome these report cards as an opportunity not only to take stock of our collective successes, but to also identify where we can better target technical and financial resources to enhance this important work.”
DEC prepares Tactical Basin Plans to prioritize actions to protect and restore Vermont’s waters. DEC also reports clean water progress through the Vermont Clean Water Initiative Annual Performance Report. The EPA evaluates Vermont’s Lake Champlain clean-up progress in five-year increments and determines whether the state is on track to meet water quality targets. For more information, visit dec.vermont.gov/watershed/restoring/champlain.