Shout Out to Cyano Monitors!

LCC staff give a cheer to our cyanobacteria volunteers! Photo by Jen Francoeur

Hundreds of LCC-trained volunteers took to the water from mid-June through mid-November to assess conditions at more than 100 Lake Champlain and inland waterway sites. Each week they scoured the shoreline for signs of cyanobacteria, donned gloves and took water samples and faithfully filed online reports. When we wrapped up the season on November 18, LCC monitors and partners had logged thousands of hours and over 2,700 reports! The data they gathered provided 76% of the information for the cyanobacteria tracking map housed at the Vermont Department of Health.

The Lake Champlain Committee (LCC) developed the Lake Champlain cyanobacteria monitoring program in 2003 to raise awareness of the issue, build a database on bloom frequency, and identify and publicize any potential health hazards. Environmental and public health officials rely on the information monitors provide to assess the recreational safety of our waterbodies. The water quality reports also add to our body of knowledge about the triggers for blooms so we can reduce their frequency. LCC coordinates the monitoring program with Vermont and New York health, environmental and recreation agencies. We annually train hundreds of citizens, state and municipal park staff, town health officers, and public water supply operators to assess conditions. Sign up here to be a part of the monitoring crew for the 2020 season. 

“We very much appreciate the dedication and commitment of LCC’s volunteers in the cyanobacteria monitoring program,” said Angela Shambaugh, Environmental Scientist with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and a key program partner. “Through their efforts, we have learned much about the distribution and frequency of cyanobacteria blooms on Lake Champlain.” Some volunteers have monitored the same location for over a decade, providing insight on local conditions. Others collect the weekly samples that are used to evaluate how well the visual assessment approach captures water quality. ”This year, volunteers in the St. Albans Bay area helped document something not reported previously – a surface scum formed from zooplankton ephippia (their overwintering eggs).”

By the end of the winter, cyanobacteria monitoring project partners plan to release a bloom index that utilizes the information monitors have gathered to evaluate how bloom conditions may have changed over time. “Our program is serving as a model for others across the country,” noted Shambaugh. “We couldn’t do it without the volunteers!”

Deep thanks to our project partners at the Vermont and New York environmental, public health and recreation agencies, the Lake Champlain Basin Program and our wonderful monitors: Bunny Adler, Nicky Albertson, Jeff Allen, Joe Allen, Marguerite Althoff, Sybille Andersen, Hannah Andrew, David Andrews, Janine Banks, Margaret Barch, John Barrows, John Bean, Kelcie Bean, Susie Becker, Kurt Behrens, Marion Benevento, Peter Benevento, Jim Bennett, Jeanette Berry, Dana Bishop, Jenny Blackman, Shannon Blake, Tim Bourne, Corry Boyle, Joe Brayden, Tom Brayden, Elise Breyette, Hannah Bryce, Gail Butz, Richard Butz, Laura Caldwell, Lara Calfee, Andrew Cappello, Gary Carlson, Allan Carpenter, Elias Carter, Laurel Casey, Ivy Cerro, Connor Chapman, Frédéric Chouinard, Lil Cieplicki, Kristin Collins, Helen Condry, Nicole Conley, Mel Cortez, Brent Coulthard, Kerry Crowningshield, Joanne Cwikla, John Cwikla, Sylvie Daley, Claire Denenberg, Sandi Detwiler, Valerie Dillon, Tom Duca, Adelaide Dumm, Mike Dunbar, Judy Dunnan, Doris Eddy, Leah Farrell-Carnahan, Glenn Fay Jr., Nathalie Fortin, Megan Foster, Cathy Frank, Teresa Gerade, Marcy Gibson, Kelly Gilderdale, Sally Goddard, Richard Goggin, Brad Gooding, Kelly Graham, Mike Gray, Fred Guffey, Marie-Hélène Guillemin-Batchelor, Jen Handy, Carol Hanley, Casey Hansen, Matt Harrison, Pam Hebert, Francesca Hellerman, Christine Herrington, Colleen Hickey, Meaghan Hickey, Cathy Hickory, Connor Hoben, Margy Holden, David Holland, Phelps Holloway, Eric Howe, Elizabeth Humstone, Max Hunter, Michael Hunyadi, Houston Illo, Deborah Jerard, Grace Jia, Suzy Johnson, Alec Kaeding, Kierstin Kemmerer, Doug Kiser, Marty Kiser, Steve Langevin, Denis LaPointe, Tim Larned, Diane Larose, Elizabeth Lee, Liza Lemieux, Derick Lind, Merrily Lovell, Allan MacDonald, Shannon MacGregor, Melissa Makay, Jason Mazurowski, Jon McBride, Bob McKearin, Mary McKearin, James McEvilla, Walter Medwid, Andrew Milliken, Betty Molnar, Erin Moreau, Vivianne Morin, MJ Mullowney, Gary Murdock, Maggie Murphy, Larry Myott, John Need, Bridget O'Brien, Sean O'Neil, Molly Orshoff, Alison Parker, Bill Parkhill, Mary Pat Goulding, Doug Patterson, Gretchen Patterson, Lauren Pellegrino, Dorothea Penar, Dan Petherbridge, Sue Poirier, Roger Poling, Ann Porter, Chip Porter, Edward Porter, Laura Pratt, Tom Prendergast, Gail Rafferty, Lois Rawson, Connor Reilly, Deborah Richardson, Mike Roach, Richard Robert, Alison Rogers, Andrea Rogers, Amy Rohrman, Sasha Rosen, Danielle Schneider, Laurie Sedlmayr, Nobuko Sera-Kingsley, Tatiana Sergeev, Angela Shambaugh, Cheryl Shea, Cathy Sheffield, Ken Showalter, Berney Skutel, John Skutel, Licia Sky, Carrie Smith, Isaac Spivey, Cynthia Stacey, Randall Stacey, Mike Stack, Michael Stahl, Veronica Stahl, Pete Stangel, Pamela Strohmeyer, Ken Sturm, David Sullivan, Mike Sweeney, Peggy Teillon, Perry Teillon, Levi Thill, Heather Titus, Cole Tretter, Jeff van den Noort, Jim Van Hoven, Pat Vana, Susan Vigsnes, Ally Vile, Julie Wawrzyniak, Ed Wells, Debra Welsh, Christopher White, Emily White, Renee Willard, Charlotte Williams, Sally Wilson, Chuck Woessner, Chip Wright, Jo Wright, Chris Yates, and Katherine Yoder.