Leahy Announces Over $10 Million In New Funding For Lake Champlain

Federal Funding Will Help Secure A Healthy Future For The Lake

BURLINGTON (Monday, July 26, 2010) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) joined representatives of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLCF), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission on Monday to announce an infusion of over $10 million in federal funds for projects related to Lake Champlain. Leahy has been an ardent supporter of initiatives to keep the lake healthy for decades and continues to push for increased financial and programmatic support for the lake.

Leahy, who chairs the Appropriations Sub-Committee on State and Foreign Operations which oversees the annual budget of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, secured the funding in the Fiscal Year 2010 federal budget.  The funds will be divided with $4 million going to the EPA and $6.5 million allocated to the GLCF.  The Lake Champlain Basin Program and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lake Champlain Complex will serve as the GLFC’s local partners and will oversee the distribution of some of the allocated funds.

These are by no means all of the Federal funds going to restore Lake Champlain, but are the additional increment secured by Senator Leahy.  Millions of dollars more are allocated each year through the U.S. Department of Agriculture conservation programs, the EPA clean water revolving loan fund and most recently American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds, all of which the Senator has strongly supported.

The continued threat posed by pollution, runoff, invasive species, and ecosystem destruction have not escaped the notice of Vermont’s senior senator and will be addressed through a variety of pre-existing and newly-established programs.

  • The Lake Champlain Basin Program will receive $1.1 million to be distributed in the form of competitive local grants to communities and organizations working to improve water quality and enhance the health of threatened ecosystems in the watershed.
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is expected to receive $700,000 for targeted sea lamprey control – a significant problem in the Lake Champlain basin.
  • Over $500,000 will be devoted to reducing the impacts of phosphorus and agricultural runoff on the lake. The funds will enhance programs to provide farmers with assistance in implementing best management practices and phosphorus monitoring.
  • The City of Burlington will receive $200,000 toward infrastructure upgrades that will significantly impact storm water quality and flow. As part of an ongoing effort to improve water quality and monitor non-point sources of pollution in the “Waterfront North” area, this funding will lend critical support to the construction of a new wetland storm water treatment facility.
  • The Champlain Basin Education Initiative (CBEI) will receive over $100,000 in new funding to promote public awareness of issues related to Lake Champlain through teacher training programs.

“Lake Champlain is a Vermont treasure,” said Leahy. “It is part of so much of our history as a state and it needs to be a part of our future.  It is the responsibility of every generation of Vermonters to take care of the lake and I am pleased to be able to provide this significant increase in funding to programs that so deserve it.”

# # # # #

Press Contact

David Carle: 202-224-3693