Opportunities for Action: An Evolving Plan for the Future of the Lake Champlain Basin

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Glossary and Acronyms

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Acquisition: in the context of wetlands, to obtain through direct purchase, easement, donation, or other means, in order to protect, enhance, or restore habitat functions and values. 

Algae: small aquatic plants which occur as single cells, colonies or strands. Algae use carbon dioxide and nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus to make their own food through photosynthesis. Algae form the base of the aquatic food chain. 

Algae bloom or algal bloom: a situation often caused by excess nutrients whereby algae grow and reproduce rapidly, often forming dense mats on the surface of the water. Algae blooms can cause unpleasant conditions for swimmers or boaters. 

Aquatic: growing in, living in, or dependent upon water. 

Basin: the surrounding land that drains into a water body. For Lake Champlain, the land that drains through the many rivers and their tributaries into the Lake itself. 

Benchmark: a standard against which the success of a program or action may be measured. 

Best management practice (BMP): a practice or activity that reduces the amount of pollution entering a body of water. 

Biodiversity: the variety of plants and animals, their genetic variability, and their interrelationships and ecological processes, and the communities and landscapes in which they exist. 

Biological indicator (bioindicator): biological characteristic at the cellular, organism, population, or community level that is representative of a given habitat or its ecological condition. 

Biomagnification: process whereby harmful substances become increasingly concentrated in tissues or internal organs of organisms with each step up the food chain. 

Biota: the animal or plant life of a region. 

Blue-green algae/cyanobacteria: known as the most primitive group of algae. Some blue-green algae produce natural toxins.

Brownfield: abandoned, idled or under-used industrial and commercial facility where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. 

Buffer (zone or strip): protective land border that reduces runoff and nonpoint source pollution loading to critical habitats or water bodies; area created or sustained to lessen the negative effects of land development on animals and plants and their habitats. 

Byway: a transportation route and adjacent area usually of interest because of particular scenic, historic, recreational, cultural and archeological values. A byway is managed to protect such values and encourage economic development through tourism and recreation. 

Community: in the context of ecology, a group of interacting plants and animals inhabiting a given area. 

Concentration: the amount of a material dissolved in a solution. 

Contaminant: a substance that is not naturally present in the environment or is present in amounts that can adversely affect the environment. 

Contamination: in water resources, the impairment of water quality by waste to a degree that creates a hazard to public health or living resources through poisoning or the spread of disease. Air and soil can also be contaminated in a similar way.

Corridor: in the context of wildlife, a strip of habitat that joins two larger blocks of habitat that permits movement of wildlife during dispersal or migration, e.g., a wooded area along a river.

Cost-effective: in environmental policy-making, the least cost means of achieving a pre-determined environmental objective. Costs include long-term, short-term, direct and indirect costs to producers, society and the environment.

Cost-share: a method for sharing installation costs for conservation practices, including BMPs, between a governmental body (federal, state, local) and a farmer or landowner/land user.

Criteria: a standard, rule or test by which something can be judged; a measure of value.

Critical habitat: any area which has unique or fragile natural, historical, geological, archeological or wildlife value; areas which are essential to the conservation of an officially-listed endangered or threatened species and which may require special management considerations or protection are also considered critical habitats.

Cultural heritage: historical and archeological past reflected in existing culture.

Cultural heritage resources: the physical record and memory of the past.

Database: a collection of data arranged for ease and speed of retrieval.

Dioxin: any of a family of compounds known chemically as dibenzo-p-dioxins. Dioxins are sometimes generated by industrial processes, and can contaminate water and soil. Tests on laboratory animals indicate that it is one of the most toxic man-made chemicals known.

Drainage basin: land area from which water flows into a river or lake, either from streams, groundwater, or surface runoff (see Basin or Watershed).

Easement: an agreement by which a landowner gives up or sells one of the rights on his/her property. For example, a landowner may donate a right of way across his/her property to allow community members to access to the Lake.

Ecosystem: a group of plants and animals occurring together, and the physical environment with which they interact.

Ecosystem approach: a way of looking at socio-economic and environmental information based on the boundaries of ecosystems such as the Lake Champlain Basin, rather than based on town, city and county boundaries.

Ecosystem-based approach: a management approach to making decisions based on the characteristics of the ecosystem in which a person or thing belongs. This concept takes into consideration interactions between the plants, animals and physical characteristics of the environment when making decisions about land use or living resource issues.

Endangered species: a species in immediate danger of becoming extinct.

End-of-pipe: at the point of discharge to the environment.

Erosion: the loosening and subsequent transport of soil away from its native site, or the wearing away of the land surface by running water, wind, ice or gravity. Erosion often results from wind or the removal of vegetation.

Eutrophic: from Greek for "well-nourished," it describes a lake with low water clarity and excessive plant growth due to high concentrations of nutrients.

Eutrophication: the slow, natural process of aging of a lake, estuary, or bay. Dissolved nutrients enter the water body, often leading to excess plant growth and decreased water quality. As the plants die, they are decomposed by microorganisms which use up dissolved oxygen vital to other aquatic species such as fish. Over very long periods of time, the decaying plant matter builds up and causes the lake to fill in to form a bog or marsh. Human-caused eutrophication can speed up this natural process.

Exotic species: a species which is not native or which is introduced from another location.

Failing or faulty septic system: a septic system that releases untreated or inadequately treated wastewater to surface or groundwater by surfacing and overland flow of effluent or by subsurface percolation.

Fishery: the act, process, occupation or season for taking fish.

Fish passageway: a structure that is built, installed, or established to help fish bypass impediments in a waterway.

Food web: the pattern of food consumption in a natural ecosystem. A food web is composed of many interconnecting food chains.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS): a computer system that is used to compile, store, analyze and display geographic and associated data tables. This system can be used to produce maps which overlay information layers of locations of various environmental and physical features.

Geomorphic: pertaining to forms on the surface of the earth and the processes that developed those forms. A geomorphic analysis considers of drainage patterns, river channels, floodplains, terraces and other watershed features and how they have changed over time.

Grassland agriculture: the use of grass, legumes and/or hay to achieve livestock dietary requirements without the need for corn silage.

Guidelines: standards or principles by which to make a judgment or determine a policy or course of action.

Habitat: the place where a particular type of plant or animal lives. An organism's habitat must provide all of the basic requirements for life and should be free of harmful contaminants.

Habitat degradation: reduction of the quality of the environment in which an organism or biological population usually lives or grows.

Habitat restoration: the artificial manipulation of a habitat to restore it to its former condition.

Hazardous waste: any solid, liquid or gaseous substance that is a by-product of society and classified under state or federal law as potentially harmful to human health or the environment. Hazardous wastes are subject to special handling, shipping, storage and disposal requirements and possess at least one of the following four characteristics: ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity or toxicity.

Health risks: anything which may reduce human health. These may be ranked according to high, moderate and low risk.

Household hazardous waste: substances found in the home which contain hazardous materials (which should be disposed of properly to prevent pollution to the air, groundwater and surface water.)

Hydrodynamics: the study of how water flows from one area to another.

Hypereutrophic: describes a lake characterized by an excess of nutrients. These lakes usually support algal blooms, vegetative overgrowth, and low biodiversity.

Integrity: in the context of ecology, a structurally sound and fully functional ecosystem is one that is said to have "ecological integrity." Such an ecosystem is self-maintaining and resilient when disturbed.

Invertebrate: small organisms like worms and clams that do not have a backbone.

Load (also loading): the amount of a material entering a system from all sources over a given time interval.

Local watershed: in this Plan, any watershed within a sub-basin of Lake Champlain.

Manage: to control the movement or behavior of; to manipulate.

Management (natural resources management): to make a conscious, deliberate decision on a course of action to conserve, protect, restore, enhance, or control natural resources, or to take no action.

Mass balance approach: an approach to managing chemicals that relies on balancing inputs and outputs.

Mesotrophic: a moderately nutrient-enriched lake, between oligotrophic and eutrophic.

Mitigation: actions taken to compensate for the negative effects of a particular project. Wetland mitigation usually takes the form of restoration or enhancement of a previously damaged wetland or creation of a new wetland.

Non-native: in this Plan, not originating naturally in the Lake Champlain Basin.

Nonpoint source pollution: nutrients or toxic substances that enter water from dispersed and uncontrolled sites, rather than through pipes. Sources of nonpoint source pollution include runoff from agricultural lands, urban and forest land, and on-site sewage disposal.

Nuisance species: species having adverse ecological and/or economic impacts.

Nutrient: a substance which nourishes life. These are essential chemicals needed by plants or animals for growth. If other physical and chemical conditions are appropriate, excessive amounts of nutrients can lead to degradation of water quality by promoting excessive growth, accumulation and subsequent decay of plants, especially algae. Some nutrients can be toxic to plants and animals at high concentrations.

Nutrient management: an integrated approach designed to maximize the efficient use of nutrients, particularly phosphorus which is found in animal manure and fertilizer.

Oligotrophic: from the Greek for "poorly nourished"; describes a lake, with low plant growth and high clarity. Oligotrophic lakes contain little organic matter and have a high dissolved oxygen level.

Pathogens: organisms, usually viruses, bacteria or fungi, capable of causing disease.

PCBs: polychlorinated biphenyls. A group of manufactured chemicals, including about seventy different but closely related compounds made up of carbon, hydrogen and chlorine, used in transformers and capacitors for insulating purposes. If released to the environment, PCBs do not break down for long periods and can biomagnify in food chains. PCBs are suspected of causing cancer in humans and other animals. PCBs are an example of an organic toxic chemical.

Perennial crop: An agricultural commodity that is produced from the same root structure for two or more years.

Persistent contaminants: harmful compounds that do not readily degrade in the environment.

Phytoplankton: very small, free-floating plants found in water bodies.

Point source pollution: nutrients or toxic substances that enter a water body from a specific entry point, such as a pipe. For example, the discharge from a sewage treatment plant is point source pollution.

Pollutant: a substance that causes pollution.

Pollution: impairment of land, air or water quality caused by agricultural, domestic or industrial waste that negatively impacts beneficial uses of the land, air or water, or the facilities that serve such beneficial uses.

Pollution prevention: any action such as the efficient use of raw materials, energy, and water that reduces or eliminates the creation of pollutants. In the Pollution Prevention Act, pollution prevention is defined as source reduction (see Source reduction).

Population: the number of inhabitants in a country or region; in ecology, a population is a group of organisms of the same species living in a specified area and interbreeding.

Rare species: a species not presently in danger, but of concern because of low numbers.

Restoration: any action taken to repair, maintain, protect, and enhance the ecological integrity of the Basin.

Retrofit: the installation of best management practices (BMPs) to existing infrastructure to improve water quality and lessen other negative impacts associated with urbanization.

Riparian (habitat or zone): habitat occurring along rivers, streams and creeks that provides for a high density, diversity and productivity of plant and animal species.

Rotational grazing: a pasture management system which uses several paddocks during a grazing season, alternating paddocks to allow for forage re-growth. Livestock generally graze for less than a week before being rotated to another paddock. This system improves vegetative cover and reduces erosion and nutrient runoff.

Runoff: water from rain, melted snow, or agricultural or landscape irrigation that flows over the land surface into a water body.

Sale of development rights: the process of selling the legal right to develop a parcel of land.

Salmonids: a member of the family Salmonidae, which includes salmon, trout and whitefishes.

Sedimentation: the deposition or accumulation of sediment, such as sand, silt or clay.

Sites of concern: areas where toxic substances are found in concentrations greater than acceptable levels, or where several toxic substances are found together.

Source reduction: any practice which reduces the amount of any hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant entering wastewater. Source reduction decreases the hazards to public health and the environment associated with the release of such substances, pollutants or contaminants. Technology modifications, process or procedure modifications, reformulation or redesign of products, substitution of raw materials, and improvements in housekeeping, maintenance, training or inventory control are all examples of source reduction.

Stewardship: the concepts of responsible caretaking; based on the premise that we do not own resources, but are managers of resources and are responsible to future generations for their condition.

Stormwater runoff: precipitation running off of saturated soils and impervious surfaces such as paved parking lots, streets or roofs.

Subbasin: a smaller drainage area within a large drainage basin, such as the Saranac River sub-basin of the Lake Champlain Basin. In this Plan, "sub-basin" refers to one of the 34 drainage areas (larger than 26 km2) to Lake Champlain.

Terrestrial: growing or living on the ground, rather than water.

Threatened area: an area which is in imminent danger of being degraded by pollution.

Threatened species: a species with high possibility of becoming endangered in the near future (see Endangered species).

Total Maximum Daily Load: a TMDL is the maximum amount (load) of a single pollutant from all contributing point and nonpoint sources that a water body can receive and still meet water quality standards, and an allocation of that amount of the pollutant's sources.

Toxic substance: any substance which upon exposure, ingestion, inhalation or assimilation into any organism, causes death, disease, genetic mutations, physiological malfunctions or physical deformation. Examples of toxic substances are cyanides, phenols, pesticides and heavy metals.

Toxic: poisonous, carcinogenic, or otherwise directly harmful to life.

Tributary: a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or river or lake.

Urban runoff: storm water from city streets and adjacent domestic or commercial properties that may carry pollutants of various kinds into the sewer systems and/or receiving waters.

Watershed: the geographic reach within which water drains into a particular river, stream or body of water. A watershed includes both the land and the body of water into which the land drains.

Watershed group: a citizen based group interested in protecting a nearby waterway and its surrounding drainage area.

Watershed planning: cooperative local and regional land use planning that recognizes watershed boundaries rather than political boundaries and considers water resources management is the central planning objective.

Wetland restoration: any action that aids in preserving, repairing, maintaining or enhancing wetlands (see Wetlands).

Wetlands: lands that are transitional between land and water where the water table is usually at or near the surface of the land. Wetlands are characterized by unique hydric soils and contain plant and animal communities adapted to aquatic or intermittently wet conditions. Swamps, bogs, wet meadows and marshes are examples of wetlands. The boundary of Lake Champlain wetlands has been defined at 105 feet (31.1 meters) above mean sea level.

Wildlife: for the purposes of this Plan, the term "wildlife" includes any non-domesticated mammal, fish, bird, amphibian, reptile, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod and other invertebrate or plant.

Zooplankton: very small, free-floating animals found in water bodies.

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List of Acronyms

  • AAP Accepted Agricultural Practices
  • AEM Agricultural Environmental Management
  • AIS Aquatic Invasive Species
  • AOP Aquatic Organism Passage
  • ANC Aquatic Nuisance Control
  • ANS Aquatic Nuisance Species
  • APA Adirondack Park Agency
  • APIPP Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program
  • ASCN Aquatic Species Conservation Needs
  • BCR Bird Conservation Region
  • BGA Blue-Green Algae
  • BMP Best Management Practice
  • CAC Citizens Advisory Committee
  • CAFO Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation
  • CBEI Champlain Basin Education Initiative
  • CBVBM Corporation Bassin Versant Baie Missisquoi
  • CNMP Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan
  • CREP Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program
  • CRP Conservation Reserve Program
  • CSO Combined Sewer Overflows
  • CVNHP Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership
  • CWICNY Champlain Watershed Improvement Coalition of New York
  • DFO Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Canada)
  • DPW Department of Public Works
  • E&O Education and Outreach
  • EPF Environmental Protection Fund
  • EPSCoR Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research
  • EQIP Environmental Quality Incentives Program
  • FEH Fluvial Erosion Hazard
  • FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency
  • FFY Federal Fiscal Year
  • GIS Geographic Information Systems
  • GLFC Great Lakes Fishery Commission
  • GRISE Integrated soil and water management/Gestion raisonnée et intégrée des sols et de l’eau
  • HACCP Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point
  • HAPAC Heritage Area Partnership Advisory Committee
  • HELP Hydrology for the Environment, Life, and Policy
  • IJC International Joint Commission
  • IRDA Research and Development Institute for the Agrienvironment/l'Institut de recherche et de développement en agroenvironnement
  • ISPZ Invasive Species Prevention Zone
  • LiDAR Light Detection and Ranging
  • LCBP Lake Champlain Basin Program
  • LCFWMC Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative
  • LCSG Lake Champlain Sea Grant
  • LID Low Impact Development
  • LFO Large Farm Operation
  • LPP Land Protection Plan
  • MEA Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
  • MFO Medium Farm Operation
  • MS4 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems
  • MTQ Ministère des Transports du Québec
  • MRC Regional Municipalities/Municipalité Régionale de Comté
  • NANBO North American Network of Basin Organizations
  • NAWCA North American Wetlands Conservation Act
  • NEAEB New England Association of Environmental Biologists
  • NEANS Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species
  • NEAPMS Northeast Aquatic Plant Management Society
  • NECNALMS New England Chapter of the North American Lake Management Society
  • NEIWPCC New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission
  • NFIP National Flood Insurance Program
  • NLA National Lakes Assessment
  • NMP Nutrient Management Plan
  • NOAA National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration
  • NPO Nonprofit Organization
  • NRCD Natural Resources Conservation District
  • NRCS Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • NWR National Wildlife Refuge
  • NWS National Weather Service
  • NYS New York State
  • NYSCC New York State Canal Corporation
  • NYSDAM New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
  • NYSDEC New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
  • NYSDOT New York State Department of Transportation
  • NYSECL New York State Environmental Conservation Law
  • NYSP2I New York State Pollution Prevention Institute
  • O&M Operations and Maintenance
  • OBVBM Missisquoi Bay Watershed Organization/Organisme de bassin versant de la baie Missisquoi
  • OFA Opportunities for Action
  • ODEP Diagnostic Tool for Phosphorus Exportation/Outil de Diagnostic des Exportations de Phosphore
  • ORDR (NIH) Office of Rare Diseases Research (National Institutes of Health)
  • P Phosphorus
  • PBDEs Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers
  • PBLC Programme Bassin Lac Champlain
  • PCBs Polychlorinated Biphenyls
  • PSA Public Service Announcement
  • RFP Request for Proposals
  • PPCPs Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products
  • PPP Preliminary Project Proposal
  • Project WET Project Watershed Education for Teachers
  • QC Québec
  • QC MDDEP Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks of Québec /Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs du Québec
  • QC MAPAQ Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food of Québec/Ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec
  • QC MRNF Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife of Québec/Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune du Québec
  • QC MSSS Ministry of Health and Social Services/Ministère de la Santé et Services sociaux du Québec
  • QC SFP Society of Wildlife and Parks of Québec/Société de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec
  • RFP Request for Proposals
  • RIBS Rotating Integrated Basin Studies
  • RMO Regional Marketing Organization
  • ROW Right of Way
  • RPC Regional Planning Commission
  • RSEP Regional Stormwater Education Program
  • SCS Soil Conservation Service
  • SGCN Species of Greatest Conservation Need
  • SDWA Safe Drinking Water Act
  • SPDES State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (New York)
  • SRA Source Reduction Assistance
  • SRF State Revolving Fund
  • SSO Sanitary Sewer Overflow
  • SPDES State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System
  • SUNY State University of New York
  • SWCD Soil and Water Conservation District
  • TAC Technical Advisory Committee
  • TMDL Total Maximum Daily Load
  • TNC The Nature Conservancy
  • TRP Temporary Registration Permit
  • TU Trout Unlimited
  • UNESCO United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
  • USACOE or USACE United States Army Corps of Engineers
  • USCDC United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • USDA-NRCS United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • USDAWS United States Department of the Interior Wildlife Services
  • USDOI United States Department of the Interior
  • USEPA United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • USFS United States Forest Service
  • USFWS United States Fish and Wildlife Service
  • USGS United States Geological Survey
  • UVM University of Vermont
  • VAAFM Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
  • VCGI Vermont Center for Geographic Information
  • VHCB Vermont Housing Conservation Board
  • VHS Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia
  • VIPs Vermont Invasive Patrollers
  • VOCs Volatile Organic Compounds
  • VT Vermont
  • VTACCD Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development
  • VTANR Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
  • VTRANS Vermont Agency of Transportation
  • VTDEC Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation
  • VTDFPR Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation
  • VTDHP Vermont Division for Historic Preservation
  • VTDOH Vermont Department of Health
  • VTFWD Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
  • VNRC Vermont Natural Resources
  • WNS White-Nose Syndrome
  • WRDA Water Resources Development Act
  • WQCC Water Quality Control Commission
  • WQIP Water Quality Improvement Project
  • WRP Wetlands Reserve Program
  • WWTF Wastewater Treatment Facilities
  • ZIPP Phosphorus Priority Intervention Zone

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Site Last Updated: March 18, 2015

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