Protecting Lake Champlain
Stretching nearly 120 miles from Whitehall, NY to the Richelieu River in Quebec, Lake Champlain is one of Vermont's greatest natural treasures. Nestled between the dramatic peaks of the Adirondacks and Vermont's picturesque Green Mountains, the lake is prized all over the Northeast for its recreational, ecological, and scenic values. More information on Lake Champlain can be found on the Lake Champlain Basin Program’s website by clicking here.
Throughout his time in Congress, Senator Leahy has made Lake Champlain one of his top priorities. He has secured over $110 million in federal funding to clean-up and protect Lake Champlain, and has spearheaded federal efforts to study the lake and to learn the most effective ways to preserve its natural beauty and protect it for future generations. Senator Leahy has worked successfully over many years, through authorizing and appropriating legislation, to expand the role of federal agencies in protecting the lake.
Senator Leahy has also played a key role in founding and developing the Lake Champlain Basin Program as the organization that convenes Vermont, New York, and Quebec partners working to restore Lake Champlain.
Senator Leahy is honored to have his name, and Marcelle's, attached to the Leahy Center for the Lake, which is home to the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, the University of Vermont Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory, the Lake Champlain Basin Program Resource Room, the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Watershed Alliance, and the Lake Champlain Navy Memorial.
Most recently, Senator Leahy hosted the Blue Waters in Green Mountains summit, an environmental two-day conference in May of 2013 aimed at creating new initiatives for involving a greater segment of the public in the stewardship of Lake Champlain and reinvigorating cleanup efforts.
Combating Invasive Species
Recognizing that invasive species oftentimes out-compete native plants and animals as well as degrade native habitats, Senator Leahy has worked to prevent the spread of invasive species both in Vermont’s forests and Lake Champlain. Senator Leahy has secured millions of dollars to control the water chestnut, sea lamprey, and spiny flea infestations, to educate boaters and others about invasive species, and to create the first real invasive species rapid response capability of any lake in the United States. He has also pushed for increased funding for the U.S. Forest Service and the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service to combat invasive forest pests such as the Asian longhorned beetle, emeral ash borer, and hemlock woolly adelgid that all threaten Vermont’s forests.
As an avid scuba diver, Senator Leahy has a great love for our oceans and the sea life that inhabits them. Once considered a limitless and inexhaustible resource, our oceans are now in jeopardy from the demands of a growing population that has depleted ocean and coastal resources. As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Senator Leahy has led funding efforts to support the Coral Triangle Initiative, which is focused on preserving coastal, littoral, and reef resources in the world's richest marine habitats with over 500 species of coral and 3,000 species of fish. Senator Leahy has also supported efforts in the Senate to address the issue of marine invasive species that hitch a ride to new habitats either through the discharge of ballast water that ships carry for stability or by attaching to a ship's hull.