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Lake Champlain Committee

February Ripples E-news

Dear LCC Members and Friends,

Lake Champlain is frozen end to end for the second year in a row! It's a beautiful winter playground out there full of snow, ice and magic. We invite you to take a quick tour of the frozen wonderland with LCC Board Chair Gary Kjelleren. Just click here and go for a  virtual ride with Gary as he snow kites over polished ice on the main lake. You'll see clouds reflected on the lake's surface, ski past Stave and Providence islands, and encounter other adventurers on enjoying wild ice. Once you're done, please read the articles below for important updates on lake issues and ways to stay involved in the work for clean water.
 
Thanks for all you do,

Lori Fisher, LCC Exec. Director
 

More Burning Train Cars

Two more fiery train derailments this month highlight the vulnerability of people, wildlife and waterways from the dramatic increase of crude oil transport by rail. The latest debacle has added pressure to improve rail transportation of flammable liquids. Read more...
 

Water Quality Bill Clears First Hurdle - More Work Ahead

On February 20 in Montpelier the House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee recommended H. 35, the water quality bill by a vote of 7-2. The bill still needs approval from the Agriculture and Ways and Means Committees before heading to the House floor. Meanwhile a companion bill is wending its way through the Senate. Read more...
 
 

Lake Freezes Over Again!


The National Weather Service announced on Monday, February 16, 2015, that Lake Champlain is completely covered in ice. Remarkably, this is the second year in a row that the ice has extended over the entire lake surface (last year it closed February 12).  Read more...
 

Gas Pipeline Falters

Vermont Gas has halted work on a controversial proposal to supply natural gas to International Paper (IP) in Ticonderoga via a pipeline under Lake Champlain. IP had been poised to fund a significant portion of the pipeline expansion, but backed out following substantial construction cost overruns. During project review LCC expressed concern about the significant risk the pipeline posed to Lake Champlain and advocated for specific steps to mitigate them. Read more...
 

Salty Roads Salty Water

It’s snow season. Diligent public works employees spend hours clearing snow and applying salt and sand to roads in order to make daily commutes safer. But eventually, when the snow melts, the sand and salt flows into that river and Lake Champlain. How does it affect water quality? Read more...

 

Tile Drains a Significant Source of Phosphorus

The importance of agricultural tile drains as a contributor to water quality pollution is gaining more attention. In addition to its other provisions, the water quality bill recently passed by the House Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources Committee indicates some concern about agricultural tile draining. Read more...
 

Lessons From the Flood: Advanced Planning Pays

The time to prepare for future floods is now. Communities that took steps to protect themselves in advance of Tropical Storm Irene were often able to avoid some of the devastation that confronted their neighbors. Read more...
 

Nature Note - What Changes When the Lake Freezes

The layer of ice now sitting atop Lake Champlain insulates the water from the atmosphere and alters some of the physical phenomena that are sometimes seen around the lake. Read more...
 

Upcoming Events

March 16-22 - Fix a Leak Week

 

March 17 - Clean Water Day

Click here to learn more about these upcoming events!
 

Other Lake News from Near and Far

Lake Champlain's Threatened and Endangered Birds
 

Three species of birds in the Lake Champlain region are considered Threatened or Endangered by New York and Vermont: bald eagle, common tern, and black tern. All three are on Vermont’s Endangered Species List while the black tern is listed as Endangered for New York and the bald eagle and common tern are listed as Threatened. Read more...

Changes Proposed to Sauger Fishing Regs  
 

The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Board is proposing changes to the regulations for catching sauger, a walleye relative, on Lake Champlain. Read more...
 

Champlain Trapping Boats on Display
 

The Henry Sheldon Museum in Middlebury recently inaugurated a new exhibit on trapping boats of the Lake Champlain Basin. The project is a collaboration with Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center, and will run from March 10 through April 11. Read more...

Adirondack Residents Have Higher Invasive Species Knowledge
 

A Cornell University survey to assess New Yorkers’ awareness of invasive species found the highest awareness level in the Adirondack/St. Lawrence/Eastern Lake Ontario region. Read more...
 

NY DEC Funding Woes
 

New York State Comptroller Thomas Napoli recently released a report documenting the significant staff cuts and constrained funding that have plagued the Department of Environmental Conservation (NY DEC) over the last decade. When adjusted for inflation, NY DEC funding increased by only 1.7 percent between 2003 and 2014. Read more...

Clean-up of Toxics in Saranac Lake
 

When the Saranac Lake Gas Co. abandoned operations in the 1940s they left behind a legacy of toxic waste on their property and in nearby Brandy Brook and Lake Flower's Pontiac Bay. Read more...
 

Land Clearing Leads to 100-fold Increase in Erosion
 

Researchers at UVM have for the first time documented background rates of erosion in the absence of land clearing and then compared their results to erosion rates following land clearing. Read more...

Algae Bill Passes Congress
 

At the federal level, on February 24 the U.S. House passed a bill (H. 212) that would give EPA 90 days to develop and submit a plan to Congress to assess and manage risks from algal toxins in drinking water. All House members from the Champlain watershed voted in favor of the bill. EPA would need to compile a list of toxins and their effects, suggest treatment options, and provide technical assistance to states. The bill is an amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act and does not include any funding. Read more...
 

Flood Control Project Pits Farmers Against Towns
 

When waters rise they have to go somewhere and everyone hopes it’s not on their own land.  Read more...

Aral Sea Disappearing
 

The Aral Sea in central Asia was once the fourth largest lake in the world with a surface area of 26,000 square miles. Now, the water body has shrunk to one-tenth its original size and 82 percent of what was water is desert. Read more...
 

Moving? Changing Email Addresses?

If so, please email us so we can update your files and ensure you receive news on lake issues and LCC’s work. Email is our primary form of communication with members. Mailing electronically saves time and resources and reinforces the stewardship ethic of our mission. We don’t give away or sell email addresses.

Lake Champlain Committee Board of Directors

Gary Kjelleren - Chair (South Hero, VT), Sharon Murray - Treasurer (Bolton, VT), Alan Booth (Plattsburgh, NY), Sandy Montgomery (Montreal, QC), Ann Ruzow Holland (Willsboro, NY), Hank Slauson (Shelburne, VT), Chuck Woessner (Grand Isle, VT).

Lake Champlain Committee Advisory Council

Megan Epler Wood (Burlington, VT), Steven Kellogg (Essex, NY), Peter S. Paine, Jr. (Willsboro, NY), Mary Watzin (NC).

Lake Champlain Committee Staff

Alexa Hachigian, Office Manager
Lori Fisher, Executive Director
Mike Winslow, Staff Scientist

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