News from Selected Month

The Vermont Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA - H.688) will be on the House floor tomorrow, February 20 for a crucial vote. The bill sets binding targets and holds the state accountable to develop and implement a plan to meet Vermont’s commitment to the Paris Climate Accord by 2025 and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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Recognizing that climate change poses an existential threat to Lake Champlain water quality, LCC was among 30 diverse organizations to present a policy plan of action to Vermont leaders in January. Since 2006, the state has had statutory goals to cut carbon pollution but we are very far from meeting them. Vermont is falling behind its Northeast neighbors in making pollution reductions, in part because the state lacks requirements to do so.

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Earlier this month Jared Carpenter, LCC’s Water Protection Advocate, joined with colleagues from the Vermont Conservation Voters, Vermont Natural Resource Council and other organizations to present the 2020 Environmental Common Agenda. The Common Agenda represents priorities of environmental groups across Vermont who are working to engage policy makers and citizens on important issues that affect water, air, land, wildlife, communities and health.

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In July 2019, LCC welcomed Lauren Sopher to the staff as our Director of Science and Water Programs. Lauren grew up in Vermont traipsing after frogs and toads along Monroe Brook, paddling the LaPlatte River, and exploring Lake Champlain’s surface and shorelines.

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A grant from outdoor gear co-op REI will enable LCC to purchase signage for Lake Champlain Paddlers’ Trail sites, update website content, and produce informational materials about the Trail. The funds will also cover a touring kayak and related gear for LCC field programs. “This REI grant will help us publicize the Trail, re-sign locations and upgrade our equipment,” notes LCC Executive Director Lori Fisher. “We’re grateful for the support to advance our stewardship.” REI will also be partnering with LCC on April Stools’ Day and aquatic invasive species assessments.

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Lakeshore and grassland are like yin and yang: seemingly opposite forces that are complimentary. The lakeshore provides water disturbance to the grass and the grassland provides shoreline stabilization to the lake—both processes shape this natural system.

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Every space gets dirty. Whether at home, at work, or somewhere in between, most of us use  cleaning products on a regular basis to tidy up. While commercial products may get things squeaky clean, they can also do more harm than good. Many contain ingredients that can be acutely toxic; carcinogenic or mutagenic; irritating to skin, eyes or lungs; non-biodegradable; poisonous to aquatic organisms; or water and air polluting. Some common components of store bought cleaners to watch out for include ammonium, formaldehyde, glycol ethers, sodium borate, sodium laureth sulfates along with artificial colors, dyes and fragrances.

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Plant identification is not restricted to a particular season. Though woody plants can be difficult to identify in winter, the activity adds a new dynamic to winter adventures and is a fun challenge. Read on for identification tips about two common wetland shrub species, speckled alder (Alnus incana) and red-osier dogwood (Swida sericea), along with their value and role in wetland ecology.

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There is great potential behind a hole in the ice. On Lake Champlain, those holes are often related to ice fishing. You can make ice fishing what you want it to be: a social or solo activity, over a short or long timespan, and on open ice or under the cover of a shanty. No matter the approach, it’s an activity that gets folks outside and interacting with the natural world in the wintertime.

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In partnership with Jesse Bowman Bruchac, a Nulhegan Abenaki citizen and a teacher of the Abenaki language, the Middlebury Language Schools is launching a pilot School of Abenaki in summer 2020. Native to New England and Quebec, the Abenaki language is considered endangered. 

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Beavers are active year-round. Explore what a beaver lodge and dam is like in the wintertime with conservation biologist, Steve Faccio, and Outdoor Radio co-hosts, Kent McFarland and Sarah Zahendra, at a frozen beaver pond in Pomfret, VT. From huddling together in lodges to storing their winter stash of food in the snow, you’ll learn about how North America’s largest rodent faces winter.

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Ice formations are a wonderful display of winter. Temperature gradients impact the formation and type of ice we observe. Water at or near the soil surface freezes and expands into the open space above ground, creating spectacular columns of ice, reminiscent of crystal chandeliers.

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The Trump Administration recently finalized a rule that removes protections on waterbodies across the country. Trump’s new rule, “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” rolls back crucial components of the Obama administration’s 2015 rule, “Waters of the United States” and the 1972 Clean Water Act.

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Scientists studying Antartica’s Thwaites Glacier, larger in size than the state of Pennsylvania, are concerned about rising water temperatures at its “grounding line.” The grounding line is where the glacier transitions from laying on bedrock to floating on the ocean as ice shelves.

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