Vermont’s Clean Water Investments are Paying Off



January 24 ,2022 – The Vermont Department of Environment Conservation (DEC) just released the Vermont Clean Water Initiative 2021 Performance Report. The report details how the state’s investment of $257 million in water quality projects over the last six years is paying off by improving water quality in Vermont’s rivers, lakes, and wetlands. On Thursday, January 27, DEC will host a public information session to share highlights from the report.  


"This report demonstrates how the state's long-term commitment to restoring and maintaining water quality is yielding results—including steady gains in preventing phosphorus pollution from entering Lake Champlain and Lake Memphremagog," said Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore. "These worthwhile investments not only improve water quality, but also protect public health and safety, increase climate and flood resilience, benefit the local economy, improve habitat, and enhance recreation.”  


State funding has reduced pollution from over 155,000 acres of agricultural lands, 260 miles of municipal roads, and 440 acres of pavement or other hard surfaces. In addition, 360 acres surrounding rivers, lakes, and wetlands were restored and over 1,800 acres were conserved to prevent and reduce pollution. 


The Report also summarizes progress implementing Lake Champlain and Lake Memphremagog phosphorus pollution reduction requirements, necessary to restore water quality. Excess phosphorus contributes to potentially toxic cyanobacteria blooms and excessive plant and algae growth that impact the lakes’ recreational use and harms aquatic life.  


Since 2016, water quality projects implemented through state and federal funding programs and regulatory programs have prevented an estimated 77,000 pounds of phosphorus pollution from entering Lake Champlain and 4,000 pounds of phosphorus pollution from entering Lake Memphremagog. This represents 16 percent and 12 percent of the phosphorus reduction required to restore water quality in Lake Champlain and Lake Memphremagog, respectively. 


The Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a virtual event on Thursday, January 27, 2022, from 12:00 to 12:45 pm to present the 2021 Performance Report and its companion online Clean Water Interactive Dashboard as part of the 2022 Clean Water Lecture Series. For more information and to register, visit the Clean Water Lecture Series webpageVisit the Vermont Clean Water Initiative 2021 Performance Report to learn more and explore investment, results, and phosphorus data in the online Clean Water Interactive Dashboard.