Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy Notches Key Win For Lake Champlain In Committee Vote

Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) secured more than $6 million in funding to support fisheries, water quality, and flooding issues in Lake Champlain and Lake Memphremagog, a $2.3 million increase over last year, in the State, Foreign Operations And Related Programs appropriations bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday.

Leahy said:  “It’s important that we make this investment in continued progress for preserving and protecting Lake Champlain.  Efforts to control the sea lamprey population are delivering results.  More, larger and healthier fish are being caught, and we are starting to see landlocked salmon reproducing naturally, and the juveniles surviving, showing that we are making progress in restoring our aquatic ecosystem.  But more remains to be done, and we cannot afford to slip backward.”

The $6.25 million in funding includes:

  • $5 million for Sea Lamprey control, water quality improvements, and fish restoration in the Lake Champlain Basin,
  • $1 million to study the impacts of and develop options to address flooding in the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River watershed, and
  • $250,000 for a bi-national study of the Lake Memphremagog fishery

Leahy, long a champion for Lake Champlain in the appropriations process and in working with federal agencies, secured an additional $2 million for the Sea Grant Program in the Committee in late July, bringing total funding for the program to $65 million.  Leahy memorably fought and won his battle in 1998 to include Lake Champlain in the Sea Grant Program.  In the process, Lake Champlain briefly was deemed a “Great Lake” for the program’s purposes.  Since Leahy’s win, the Sea Grant Program has included Lake Champlain grant funding to UVM and other institutions, and the additional funding Leahy secured for Sea Grant in fiscal year 2018 will ensure that Vermont receives at least $1 million in that funding.

Both increases in funding for Lake Champlain will now be considered by the full Senate. 

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693