06.04.18

FACT SHEET: Details Of Major Lake Champlain Funding Announced By Appropriations Vice Chair Patrick Leahy

N E W S   B a c k g r o u n d e r

At-A-Glance Summary Of Senator Leahy’s Lake Champlain Funding Priorities

FY2018

In Senator Leahy’s first full year as Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, funding to protect and restore Lake Champlain is at an historic high water mark.  This is despite a spending plan from President Trump and his administration that would have eliminated many clean water programs.

The EPA Lake Champlain Program is funded at $8.399 million, an increase of $4 million over FY17.  The $4 million increase is to be targeted to implement Vermont’s 2016 Phosphorus TMDL while the base of $4.399 will fund ongoing work in Vermont and New York.  While still being finalized, the $4 million will enable two new programs targeting the biggest problems:

Developed Lands Implementation Projects:  $1.805 million

  • $100,000:  Saint Albans integrated storm water management and phosphorus control demonstration plan.  The City of Saint Albans will work with private property owners and businesses to assess storm water control needs and opportunities and to design solutions that achieve optimal reductions across both the public and private landscape.
  • $250,000:  Municipal storm water innovative grants.  Competitive funds for municipalities to undertake cross-sector storm water planning as being demonstrated by St. Albans. 
  • $1.3 million:  Combined Sewer Overflow/Green Streets Infrastructure/Storm Water prevention Grants:   Competitive grants that complement and add to the $780,000 enhanced implementation grants through Lake Champlain Basin Program from the $4.399 base funding.    
  •  $130,000:  Waste water treatment plant phosphorus removal optimization.   Technical assistance funding will help Vermont Waste Water Treatment operators improve phosphorus removal.

Agricultural Phosphorus Reduction Projects:  $2.195 million

  • $722,000:  Enhanced implementation of USDA conservation programs.  Additional engineering and technical assistance will be provided to address bottlenecks now reducing access to larger ($20M in 2017) USDA EQIP funding opportunity.  The Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program will be supported pending resolution of USDA rule change excluding Vermont from the program.  Farm agronomic practices will be promoted through on the ground technical assistance.
  • $755,000:  Lynchpin wetland restorations by the Resource Conservation Partnership Program. 
  • $158,000:  Riparian tree plantings.
  • $115,000:  Quantification of phosphorus storage in wetlands.
  • 175,000: Implementation of Vermont Basin Wide phosphorus optimization tool. 

Missisquoi Bay Municipal Roads Storm Water Grants

This will complement the new municipal storm water grants.  Senator Leahy previously earmarked funds of about $4 million for work on the Route 78 causeway that have been reprogrammed in prior year federal spending language and now in 2018 will be used for roadway storm water improvements in the Missisquoi Bay watershed.  Of that amount, more than $2 million that will go in 2018 to municipal road storm water grants administered by the Northwest Regional Planning Commission.

Great Lakes Fishery Commission:  $5 million

This is an increase of $1.5 million over 2017.  The highest priority use of these dollars is to fund the highly successful sea lamprey control program at a cost of between $750,000 and $900,000 per year (varies depending on streams being treated).  The remaining funds of just over $4 million are allocated by the Lake Champlain Basin Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to a range of species and habitat restoration projects as well as water quality work, research and environmental education.  Specific allocations for 2018 are not yet final but generally are likely to include the following work in Vermont and New York:

  • Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) including boat launch stewards.
  • LCBP water quality monitoring.
  • LCBP competitive grants for schools and non-profits for education and outreach and invasive species work.
  • Riparian buffer outreach and education, LCBP.
  • Lake trout research, University of Vermont.
  • Riparian habitat restoration including fish passage work and stream bank stabilization. 
  • River run land locked Atlantic salmon restoration.
  • Wetland restoration.

EPA Clean Water State Revolving Fund

The EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) is the federal government’s most important source of grant funding for municipal sewage treatment, storm water and similar infrastructure work.  The CWSRF funding has been on a general downward trajectory for decades.  Senator Leahy made this national program a priority.  Working in a bipartisan approach in his first full year as the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, the CWSRF saw its first increase in many years.  For 2018 there will be $300 million more available for a total of $1.693 billion nationally, with Vermont’s allotment going up more than $1 million to a total of $7.9 million.

US Army Corps of Engineers.  As a result of Senator Leahy’s efforts in 2018 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will have the necessary dollars to continue funding water chestnut control work on Lake Champlain at a cost of more than $300,000. 

Lake Champlain Sea Grant.   Not yet final and not being formally announced at this time, Senator Leahy’s work on the legislation funding the National Sea Grant Program makes it highly likely that the Lake Champlain Sea Grant program at the University of Vermont and SUNY Plattsburgh will see its funding more than double in 2018 to at least $1 million.  This should be confirmed later in the summer.

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693