News from Selected Category

Lake sturgeon can be unintentionally caught by anglers during May and June as they head upstream to spawn in the waters where they were born. The stress incurred from being hooked can inhibit their ability to reproduce. Lake sturgeon are a threatened species in New York and an endangered species in Vermont. There is no open season for lake sturgeon and possession is prohibited, so anglers should not be targeting these rare fish. Read...

Is it a bird? No. A cricket? Close! The shrill chorus of spring peepers is the chime of spring. They are among the smallest and certainly one of the most common species of frog in the Lake Champlain watershed. You can discern a spring peeper up close by a dark imperfect X pattern, contrasted against shades of brown, on its back. The “X” begets its scientific species name crucifer which means, “one who carries a cross.”

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“P” stands for phosphorus. It’s a naturally-occurring element, that when present in excess, disrupts critical ecosystem functions and can cause cyanobacteria blooms. It’s carried into the lake through a host of sources, including the runoff from lawns and gardens. According to the 2018 State of the Lake and Ecosystem Indicators Report, phosphorus from developed lands accounts for approximately 16% of the total phosphorus load to Lake Champlain each year.

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Chartreuse—a luminous yellow-green color—currently punctuates wetlands and wetland edges throughout our region in the form of American false hellebore (Veratrum viride). The herbaceous perennial belongs to the lily family and is typically found in wet places such as stream corridors, moist meadows, and swamps. Mature plants can grow as tall as six feet.

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Conservation Biologist Steve Faccio of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE) visits a local vernal pool each week throughout the spring of 2020. In a series of seven short videos taken from April 1 through May 8 he introduces viewers to the defining characteristics of vernal pools, discusses the overwintering and breeding activities of wood frogs, and provides an underwater tour of salamander eggs, fairy shrimp, tadpoles, Caddisfly larvae, and Eastern Newts. Read...

"From Lake Champlain to the Richelieu River and the St. Lawrence, a panel of Canadian experts explores our connections and common interests in our water. Saving Our Waters is a documentary series covering steps toward keeping our waterways clean; the impacts of phosphorus and other contaminants; and using the science behind the issues to derive solutions that have positive impact on our communities." Read...

Look no further than the vast system of pipes beneath our feet—sewers—for an alternative to monitoring for viruses like COVID-19 person by person. Wastewater could provide localized data about coronavirus levels and create an early warning system for future outbreaks. In Detroit, MI, for example, an outbreak of hepatitis A was detected a week in advance of an increase in confirmed cases, by extracting the genetic material from the wastewater. Read...

Entomologist Douglas Tallamy is urging Americans “to go native and go natural” and move away from the monoculture of a lawn. He’s an advocate for native plants as a way of preserving North America’s natural ecology. His recommendations for rewilding the country include: Read...

We hope you’re healthy and finding ways to nurture yourself during these challenging times. We are looking forward to diving into the lake to refresh our spirits once temperatures warm and travel restrictions ease. In the meantime, we thought we’d share the expanded line up of “Zoom a Scientist” programs that our friends at Lake Champlain Sea Grant have put together. You can tune in virtually through Zoom every Tuesday and Friday from noon to 1:00 p.m. to learn more about the lake!

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At LCC we love science and water—and feel grateful to immerse ourselves in those topics every day. Click here to read the Vox article about the really cool science behind why soap and water is a killer combo in protecting us against Covid-19.

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As we all work to address the Covid-19 pandemic, keep in mind that wipes clog pipes, even if they are marketed as “flushable.” Click here to read the New York Times article about backed-up sewer lines in the wake of the coronavirus.

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Over the next few weeks, our friends at Lake Champlain Sea Grant are hosting "Zoom a Scientist," an interactive, virtual webinar series focused on watershed and aquatic science. The programs will feature scientists from the University of Vermont Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory, SUNY Plattsburgh, the Lake Champlain Research Institute, and other organizations. Every Tuesday and Friday from noon until 1:00 p.m. scientists will lead viewers through the Lake Champlain watershed and share their research.

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Deserted dog doo is a nasty addition to the bottom of an innocent passersby’s shoe—and to Lake Champlain. Canine feces left on hard surfaces like a sidewalk or compacted soil can wash into storm drains during any precipitation event. From there, they enter streams or the lake, which nearly 200,000 people rely on for their drinking water. Most pet owners conscientiously clean-up after their dogs, but those who don’t create an issue for people and waterways.

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As we turn our faces toward the sun to soak up the rays of longer days, the natural world is adjusting too. A period of transition for humans, plants, wildlife, and Lake Champlain, the Vernal (Spring) Equinox, took place on March 19, 2020.

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As we physically distance ourselves from each other and try to flatten the curve for Covid-19 infection, getting outside every day will help bring solace and soothe spirits. Click here to read an article on the Seven Days website about three spots you can explore along Lake Champlain.

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Just as you care for water and natural spaces, let them care for you during these challenging times. Click here to read a recent study on the Yale University website that shows that just two hours a week spent in nature has measurable health benefits, even if the time is split over several days.

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If you’re at home with kids or grandkids, here are links to some online resources from North Country Public Radio and New England Cable News that might be of interest.

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Left behind dog poop affects waterways everywhere, which is why a Michigan reporter contacted LCC’s Executive Director, Lori Fisher, to learn more about our April Stools’ Days. Word of our annual scoop the poop events has been circulating throughout the Great Lakes region to encourage responsible pet poop pick-up.

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“If Moose Boulder existed, it would be the largest island in the largest lake on the largest island in the largest lake on the largest island in the largest lake in the world.” Say that three times fast—but wait, there’s more to this tongue twister!

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For the safety of our staff, volunteers and community, the Lake Champlain Committee (LCC) staff are working remotely for the time being. We remain as committed as ever to protecting water quality. The importance of having access to clean water is reaffirmed during this time when handwashing is so vital to staying healthy and mitigating the spread of infection. We are deeply grateful for your ongoing support.

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Know a K through 12 student, teacher or homeschooler in the Lake Champlain Basin? In honor of World Water Day, LCC and Champlain Basin Education Initiative (CBEI) partners are hosting our annual cool contest to celebrate water. It’s a great way for educators to integrate art and science with their students.

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LCC seeks boating pictures to enhance our 2020 edition of the Paddlers’ Trail guidebook. If you ventured out on the water with a camera, please consider sharing some photos with us. We are looking for images of human-powered adventures on Lake Champlain and any discoveries made along the way. Scenes of paddling with friends (all wearing PFDs of course), packing your gear, fishing from your boat, and other visual reflections of water outings are welcome.

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If your faucet drips or your toilet runs it can waste over 10,000 gallons a year ― the amount of water in a typical backyard swimming pool. More than one trillion gallons of water are lost annually in the U.S. due to easy-to-fix household leaks.

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On the beaches of Lake Champlain and in the branches of shoreline vegetation plastic bags flap in the breeze. These conspicuous “flags” are one of the many forms of plastic water pollution. Images of a plastic straw jammed up the nostril of a sea turtle, plastic bottles suspended in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and plastic-packed guts of fish and birds appear in our news feeds.

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While the sun shines on Montpelier, it could be dumping snow 50 miles southwest in Cornwall, VT. Apart from major snowstorms, namely Nor’easters and “Alberta Clippers,” the formation of lake-effect snow over Lake Champlain is one of the many weather patterns that turns the Champlain Valley into a winter wonderland. Lake-effect snows occur under conditions where the presence of a lake is required.

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If you look at items kept in basements, under sinks, and in the dark recesses of the garage, the odds are good that some of them contain harmful ingredients. How do you know if they’re hazardous? Words and symbols for “Warning,” “Danger,” and “Caution” are often readily visible. Household items that are corrosive, ignitable, poisonous, reactive, or toxic are known as Household Hazardous Waste (HHW).

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The freeze over of Lake Champlain is a celebrated event. Due to warming winter temperatures, the lake does not ice over as often as it did 20 years ago, making this phenomenon special. Though the lake froze over last year (closure date of March 8), as well as in 2014 and 2015, chances are Lake Champlain will not freeze over in 2020.

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The plastic bag ban in New York State begins Sunday, March 1, 2020! Whether floating on a local waterway or stuck in a tree, plastic bags are a too common sight and blight on the landscape and in the water. Do your part to reduce plastic pollution and bring your own bag from the start.

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The Lake Champlain Committee (LCC) is no stranger to defending Vermont’s clean water laws. In December 2019, LCC was part of a coalition of environmental organizations that issued a press release on the unlawful emergency exemptions for farm manure spreading that result in pollution discharges into nearby waters.

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Arctic char, closely related to lake and brook trout, are a relic of the last Ice Age. When glaciers in New England receded between 10,000 and 12,000 years ago, the char colonized areas of inland New England. Other than Alaska, Maine is the only state with native Arctic char populations. This species occupies an array of aquatic habitats, from open oceans to inland rivers, throughout its geographic range.

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