Lake Champlain

What are Cyanobacteria?

Magnified cyanobacteria

Cyanobacteria are photosynthesizing bacteria that may produce cyanotoxins that can cause illness to exposed human and animal populations.   A bloom is a visually identified concentration of cyanobacteria that discolors the water.  Cyanobacterial cells may be found at the water surface, at a defined depth, or present throughout the water column. 

Special Studies


vernal pool in winter and summer

The Watershed Management Division participates in “special studies” when the need arises, such as: 

Zebra Mussel Monitoring Program

Lake Champlain Basin Program logoLake Champlain Zebra Mussel Monitoring Program

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VTDEC), in cooperation with the Lake Champlain Basin Program, initiated the Lake Champlain Zebra Mussel Monitoring Program in 1994 to track the zebra mussel's distribution through the lake. Reports are provided annually.

Lake Champlain Long-term Monitoring Project

several sailboats moored on lake champlain

The Lake Champlain Long-Term Water Quality and Biological Monitoring Project (LTMP) is designed to measure overall ecosystem health of Lake Champlain based on key ecosystem indicators and to assess long-term effects of management actions and other environmental changes.

Mercury and Other Persistent Pollutants

Vermonter's are fortunate to have lakes and ponds that, for the most part, clean, clear, and enjoyable. When admiring the vistas from Lake Willoughby, cooling off on a hot summer day at Sunset Lake in Benson, or fishing Somerset Reservoir, it is tough to imagine that VT has a problem with heavy metals like mercury, or with other persistent organic pollutants such as PCB's and DDT. Unfortunately, though, contamination of our lakes by mercury is widespread throughout the state, and contamination by other persistent chemicals, while scattered, is indeed a problem.

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