06.29.15

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) On The State Of The Lake Report

Knowledge about the Lake informs decision making, and ongoing monitoring and reporting on Lake Champlain is a key to effective action and progress.  That’s why I continue to work to secure federal support for the Lake Champlain Basin Program. 

This report shows that most of Lake Champlain is in good condition, and that is great news.  With very good water quality overall, the Lake continues to support healthy and diverse ecosystems.  Twenty-five years of controlling the sea lamprey threat is delivering results.  More, larger and healthier fish are being caught, and diverse water bird communities are thriving. 

We all would love to see this report show improving water quality across the board, but it does not.  Years of continuing effort have helped to blunt trends that would have greatly worsened without that work.  We know that it will take years of hard work to bend those lines further in the right direction.  We  need to stay on that mission and continue redoubling our efforts until we reach our goals for the Lake.  With a large and dynamic ecosystem like Lake Champlain, there is no standing still.  We’re either advancing, or slipping behind.

It is discouraging that the Lake hosts at least one more invasive species since the last report, the spiny water flea.  Whether or not the spiny water flea arrived through the Champlain Canal in New York, we know that the canal is an open door for other unwanted species.  I hope the State of New York will apply the funds I have worked to secure to fix that problem before the next State of the Lake Report. 

Across the board, at every level of government, we have made a considerable investment in Vermont’s “Great” Lake.  We must continue that progress so that we do not slip backward on the progress we have made to protect and preserve Lake Champlain.

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