Vermont, New York, & Quebec ink lake water quality plan - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont, New York, & Quebec ink lake water quality plan

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Officials from New York, Vermont and Quebec signed off Monday on a five year-plan to improve the Lake Champlain's water quality, and to boost educational efforts to engage the public.

Hundreds of thousands of people rely on Lake Champlain for its water alone. Many more depend on it for the tourism and recreational activities that it brings to the region. That's why agencies say it's so important to work collectively across borders to keep the lake thriving. 

"We have to work together on this, and for us it's great to see that we have federal government, states, and Quebec all coming together to continue this important work," said David Heurtel, Minister of Sustainable Development & Environment for Quebec.

Governor Phil Scott says the Vermont legislature has designated $54 million in the 2018 budget to improve water quality. "This investment will allow for improvements to local roads to reduce runoff, installation of best management practices on farms to protect water quality, as well investments in storm water treatment," he said.

Scott was one of the many officials at the event in Crown Point, New York to endorse the Lake Champlain Basin Program's new lake management plan. It includes four primary goals: water quality, healthy ecosystems, and education for the public. 

"To help them understand the importance of cleaning, draining, and drying their gear before they launch a boat, help them understand and interpret the history and the culture of the region, and to push the education of our messages," said Eric Howe with the LCBP's Program Director.

Residents who live and fish on the lake say one issue they hope to see resolved is the increasing presence of milfoil, an invasive plant that feeds off of phosphorous-loaded runoff from farms. "I'm hoping that our government -- Cuomo and them -- are putting the funds where they need to be to take care of our lake so my grand kids can enjoy it, kids after that can enjoy it. Because at the rate they're going now, the milfoil is just going to choke this lake off," said William Scheuer of Port Henry, New York.

"We continue to promote our ag environmental program to our growers to emphasize the environmental stewardship and viability of farm production," said New York State Dept. of Agriculture & Markets Commissioner Richard Ball.

The plan also emphasizes methods to reduce and prevent invasive species, and educate the public on ways they can help the effort. 

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