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

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Informing and Involving the Public

About This Chapter

The Goal

Promote a better understanding and appreciation of Lake Champlain Basin resources and threats as well as personal responsibility that leads to behavioral changes and actions to reduce pollution.


The future of the Lake Champlain Basin rests in the hands of its citizens and leaders. Public information and outreach efforts must continue and expand to actively involve people in protecting and appreciating the resources of the entire Basin. Ultimately, a public that understands the Basin’s water quality and resource management problems as well as possible solutions can make informed choices about protection and restoration. Informing the public about how to change personal and collective behaviors and providing opportunities to change those behaviors are critical steps in reducing our impact on Lake Champlain.

Don't P on Your Lawn brochure

Informing the public and promoting direct citizen involvement can help achieve many of the priority actions discussed in this plan. Each priority action recognizes the need for strong public support and personal action. For example, an effective way to reduce phosphorus from residential lawns is to target media and training campaigns for specific audiences, including retail stores and landscapers. Additional outreach efforts may be achieved through news stories, interpretive signs or displays, literature, presentations, and citizen task forces.

Partnerships are critical in delivering messages to multiple audiences within the watershed. Educators, for example, benefit from professional development opportunities offered through the six partners of the Champlain Basin Education Initiative (CBEI), from the student programs that many organizations deliver in the classroom or on-site at their facilities, from research presentations offered by university professors, from watershed curricula that is available online, and from visits to the Resource Room at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center located at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain. Partnerships are also essential in delivering stormwater runoff messages, reaching homeowner associations and shoreline groups, and encouraging private sector initiatives.

Although Basin-wide education is important, support for the more than thirty watershed and river groups as well as other nonprofits and communities is also critical to fully implementing this plan. Therefore this chapter also includes actions that support initiatives, provide technical and financial assistance, and promote information sharing at the local level.

Chapter Objectives

  • Enhance learning opportunities at all educational levels to develop an understanding of and appreciation for Lake Champlain Basin resources, the related threats, and the priority actions needed to address them.
  • Promote awareness within the community of issues facing the Lake Champlain Basin and the priority actions needed to address them.
  • Develop programs that assist people in adopting behavioral changes that reflect a personal commitment to protecting and improving resources in the Basin.
  • Build local-level implementation capacity to support Lake Champlain clean-up efforts.

Associated Actions / Tasks

Click Expand Icon Next to each Action to see the associated Tasks

  • Completed Completed Task
  • Active Active Task
  • Inactive Inactive Task

Expand 3.1) Enhance educator and student learning about watershed issues.

Associated Tasks ID # Lead Partners Updated Status
Coordinate watershed professional development opportunities with CBEI partners to offer annual training for 15 to 80 teachers from New York, Québec, and Vermont through alumni events and 1- to 11-day training programs, many of which include service learning. View Task Comments 3.1.1 LCBP 09-12-12 Active
Obtain sufficient funding, ($20,000 to $40,000) annually to complete task 3.1.1. View Task Comments 3.1.2 LCBP 09-12-12 Active
Meet with 3 to 5 New York institutions in 2011-2012 seeking opportunities to promote CBEI offerings, to better assess New York educator needs, and to identify a new New York partner(s) for CBEI. View Task Comments 3.1.3 LCBP 09-12-12 Completed
Facilitate a CBEI partner workshop in 2011 to develop a 3-year strategic plan for workshop development and participant recruitment and identify which school systems receive programs from partners. View Task Comments 3.1.4 LCBP 05-15-14 Completed
Host a 1-day Lake Champlain Educator Summit in 2011 to showcase the program offerings of our natural resource and cultural heritage educational partners. View Task Comments 3.1.5 LCBP 09-12-12 Active
Complete up to 40 student classroom or field day presentations annually using 3-D watershed models, nationally approved curriculum activities, and current Lake science knowledge. View Task Comments 3.1.6 LCBP 09-12-12 Active
Produce updated Lake Champlain watershed maps, land-use maps, and other Basin resources and distribute them to educators and students free of charge and via the LCBP website. View Task Comments 3.1.7 LCBP 05-15-14 Active
Partner with Shelburne Farms and other CBEI partners to formally evaluate the success and shortcomings of educator professional development at least once for every 3 courses offered through Watershed for Every Classroom and other CBEI initiatives. View Task Comments 3.1.8 LCBP 09-12-12 Active
Enhance the collection of national and local curriculum resource materials made available through the LCBP Resource Room and post local Watershed for Every Classroom service learning examples to the LCBP website by 2011. View Task Comments 3.1.9 LCBP 09-12-12 Active
Provide outreach programs on watershed issues through field day programs such as those hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension. View Task Comments 3.1.10 New York Inactive
Promote Adirondack habitat and watershed student learning through partnerships with the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. View Task Comments 3.1.11 New York Inactive
Plan a workshop at ECHO at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain for teachers from Québec by 2012. View Task Comments 3.1.12 Québec Inactive
Produce an education section to educators and students free of charge on the OBVBM website by 2012. View Task Comments 3.1.13 Québec 05-21-14 Completed
Evaluate the four-phase Clear Water Musketeer program from Missisquoi Bay and implement in 3 English- and 10 French-speaking schools in Québec by 2011. View Task Comments 3.1.14 Québec 09-12-14 Completed
Coordinate annually with EPSCoR Vermont Streams Project to involve students in assessing priority surface water in the Basin. View Task Comments 3.1.15 Vermont 10-12-12 Active
Conduct Science on the Green, a conservation and natural science workshop for grades K-12 annually. View Task Comments 3.1.16 Vermont 10-12-12 Active
Incorporate Project WET activities and outdoor water-quality monitoring training into the CBEI and school district professional development trainings for teachers. View Task Comments 3.1.17 Vermont 11-09-11 Active
Provide watershed and water-quality education programs for K-12 youth, teachers, and adults by offering hands-on, inquiry-based curriculum, technical expertise, equipment, and human resources to at least 15 programs annually in the Basin. View Task Comments 3.1.18 LCSG 03-18-15 Active

Expand 3.2) Build awareness and understanding among residents and visitors about Lake Champlain Basin resources and behaviors that contribute to pollution.

Associated Tasks ID # Lead Partners Updated Status
Conduct or facilitate 20 presentations or public forums on Lake issues annually to special interest groups, communities, businesses, and local government decision makers. View Task Comments 3.2.1 LCBP 05-15-14 Active
Provide watershed and Lake Champlain educational materials and displays for at least 10 conferences, fairs, expos, and other venues that attract targeted public audiences annually. View Task Comments 3.2.2 LCBP 09-18-12 Active
Develop new material for the LCBP website to ensure that it remains informative and accurate and reflects current online technology. View Task Comments 3.2.3 LCBP 09-12-12 Active
Use social marketing techniques to address issues of key concern within specific audiences and in conjunction with outreach partners. Examples include recent efforts with Don’t P on Your Lawn with businesses, pesticide applicators, and landscape companies. View Task Comments 3.2.4 LCBP 09-18-12 Active
Provide resources, exhibits, answers to information requests, and watershed research assistance to about 25,000 annual visitors to LCBP’s comprehensive Resource Room in ECHO at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain. View Task Comments 3.2.5 LCBP 05-15-14 Active
Develop a State of the Lake report every 3 years, including 2011 and 2014, in a format accessible to the general public, lake managers, and policymakers to share current science and research results, and make it available on the LCBP website. View Task Comments 3.2.6 LCBP 09-12-12 Active
Seek 2 new venues for long-term interpretive outreach materials in New York municipalities by 2011. View Task Comments 3.2.7 LCBP 05-15-14 Completed
Foster partnerships with local media, including print, television, and radio, to cover Basin issues regularly through PSAs and other methods. View Task Comments 3.2.8 LCBP 09-18-12 Active
Communicate progress on plan implementation to the public, special interest groups, communities, and government agencies via an updateable online plan, news releases, and e-newsletters distributed 6 times a year. View Task Comments 3.2.9 LCBP 08-09-13 Active
DEC staff will set up watershed related exhibit materials at 5 or more community events each year. View Task Comments 3.2.10 New York 05-20-14 Active
Promote awareness of issues facing the Lake Champlain Basin to the boater’s community at the Station Nautique Ile-aux-Noix (marina) by 2011. View Task Comments 3.2.11 Québec Inactive
Provide interpretive outreach materials, exhibits, and displays in partnership with the local watershed groups for at least 3 conferences, fairs, expos, and other venues that attract targeted public audiences annually. View Task Comments 3.2.12 Québec 02-04-13 Active
Conduct education forums in target watersheds to educate stakeholders about priority surface water issues and engage partners in implementing high-priority water-quality strategies in conjunction with DEC’s Basin planning effort. View Task Comments 3.2.13 Vermont 10-12-12 Active
Conduct at least 3 annual DEC education workshops concerning fluvial erosion using the demonstration flume in the Champlain Basin. View Task Comments 3.2.14 Vermont 11-07-11 Active
Publish Out of the Blue, a statewide newsletter focusing on watershed activities 2 times a year through DEC. View Task Comments 3.2.15 Vermont 05-08-14 Active
ANR staff, Vermont League of Cities and Towns, Natural Resources Conservation District, and Regional Planning Commissions provide annual technical assistance and training for municipalities seeking to take greater steps to protect water quality. View Task Comments 3.2.16 Vermont 11-07-11 Active
Provide opportunities to improve public understanding of climate change and the implications for Lake Champlain ecosystem management by 2013. View Task Comments 3.2.17 LCSG 08-27-14 Active

Expand 3.3) Provide hands-on citizen action opportunities to improve the watershed and change behaviors that contribute to pollution.

Associated Tasks ID # Lead Partners Updated Status
Support partnership opportunities through local grants to increase public, youth, and local business involvement to clean up rivers and lakes, reduce toxic materials in homes and businesses, use Lake friendly gardening techniques, and participate in recycling programs, etc through community projects, student programs, and youth corps. View Task Comments 3.3.1 LCBP 05-15-14 Active
Help watershed and other organizations publicize citizen action and outreach opportunities through the LCBP website, assistance with news releases, and other methods. View Task Comments 3.3.2 LCBP 05-15-14 Active
Coordinate 3 workshops to encourage communities to participate in the Climate Smart Communities programs to reduce water and energy consumption and reduce waste generation by 2012. View Task Comments 3.3.3 LCBP Inactive
Help landowners along the Missisquoi Bay protect and restore their banks annually. View Task Comments 3.3.4 Québec 09-12-14 Active
Assist landowners along the Pike River with characterization and protection of their banks annually. View Task Comments 3.3.5 Québec 09-12-14 Active
Support citizen involvement through the Vermont Lay Monitoring Program for Lake Champlain. View Task Comments 3.3.6 Vermont 05-08-14 Active
Support citizen involvement in surface water assessments by allocating laboratory analytical capacity grants under the LaRosa Partnership Program. Enroll at least 8 groups annually and seek to engage new monitoring groups. View Task Comments 3.3.7 Vermont 05-08-14 Active
Continue to promote the EPA-offered Volunteer Monitoring Equipment Loan program to Vermont watershed monitoring groups. View Task Comments 3.3.8 Vermont 11-09-11 Active
Provide rain garden demonstrations and implementation projects as noted in the Phosphorus Chapter: Action 2.5. View Task Comments 3.3.9 LCSG 09-06-12 Completed

Expand 3.4) Improve communication and cooperation among the diverse groups involved in Lake Champlain Basin education and outreach.

Associated Tasks ID # Lead Partners Updated Status
Host an annual meeting of local watershed groups to provide technical support on issues of mutual interest and to facilitate communication among organizations. View Task Comments 3.4.1 LCBP 05-15-14 Active
Increase regular communication with Regional Planning Commissions, New York Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Vermont Natural Resource Conservation Districts to facilitate action on issues of mutual interest. View Task Comments 3.4.2 LCBP 09-18-12 Active
Provide support to Soil and Water Conservation Districts that are assisting local communities with pollution prevention implementation. View Task Comments 3.4.3 New York 05-20-14 Active
Host 4 meetings annually to make local governments aware of issues facing the Lake Champlain Basin and of the role of the OBVBM; provide technical support. View Task Comments 3.4.4 Québec 09-13-13 Active
Coordinate with local groups, especially with the Missisquoi North and Sutton River watersheds, to facilitate communication among organizations annually. View Task Comments 3.4.5 Québec 02-05-13 Active
Restructure the Basin Planning Program by developing a Statewide Surface Water Management Plan that identifies priority issues addressing Vermonts surface waters. The statewide plan will identify priorities and assist in the simultaneous implementation of the numerous planning and implementation initiatives in which ANR participates, including OFA and the Lake Champlain TMDL Implementation Plan. View Task Comments 3.4.6 Vermont 11-09-11 Completed
Identify and develop geographically targeted implementation steps that are ready for funding in conjunction with the development of the Statewide Surface Water Management Plan. View Task Comments 3.4.7 Vermont 11-09-11 Active
Host trainings for stakeholders on invasive species spread prevention, fisheries management, and water quality improvement and protection. View Task Comments 3.4.8 LCSG 08-28-14 Active

Expand 3.5) Provide local groups, schools, and municipalities financial and technical resources to implement Opportunities for Action in Basin communities and watersheds.

Associated Tasks ID # Lead Partners Updated Status
Implement annual local grants program that provides financial support for local organizations working to address tasks in OFA, especially for priority issues (e.g., phosphorus, toxins, and aquatic invasive species) and education and outreach. View Task Comments 3.5.1 LCBP 09-18-12 Active
Provide annual organizational support and professional development mini-grants to strengthen administrative, technical, communication, and field skills for local watershed staff and board members. View Task Comments 3.5.2 LCBP 05-15-14 Active
Keep the public informed about financial and educational support pertaining to water-quality issues available through the LCBP. View Task Comments 3.5.3 LCBP 08-09-13 Active
Provide technical resources to local groups, schools, and municipalities that are implementing actions in Missisquoi Bay Watersheds annually. View Task Comments 3.5.4 Québec 09-13-13 Active
Make annual funding available to local watershed groups through the license plate grant program, Vermont’s Clean and Clear funding, and Section 319. View Task Comments 3.5.5 Vermont 11-07-11 Active
Provide technical assistance to nongovernment organizations and municipalities on low-impact development, stormwater best management practices, shoreline protection, and other topics. View Task Comments 3.5.6 LCSG 08-28-14 Active

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