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

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Success Stories

Lisière Verte Project Initiated

The Lisière Verte project was initiated by the Co-operative of Solidarity of the Watershed of the Pike River in collaboration with the MAPAQ. The Lisière Verte pilot-project was born thanks to the financing obtained by the means of the the Advancing Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food (ACAAF) of the federal government. This pilot-project was implemented at the spring of 2007 per one 2 years period. This project mainly aimed at supporting projects whose realization will make it possible to make recommendations for development of a Canadian policy of remuneration of goods and services environmental (BSE).

Approximately 1,2 million dollars was invested, within the framework of the Lisière Verte project, for:
• to arrange a cultivable buffer of 9 meters uninterrupted along the streams in the Beaver, Granger, Pelletier, Small Brook and Ewing (in hay or other perennial cultures, ex: panic grass);
• to convert floodplains of the Pike River of annual culture into a perennial culture;
• to install works of control of erosion

Le projet Lisière Verte a été initié par la Coopérative de solidarité du bassin versant de la rivière aux Brochets en collaboration avec le MAPAQ. Le projet-pilote Lisière Verte a vu le jour grâce au financement obtenu par le biais du Programme pour l’avancement du secteur canadien de l’agriculture et de l’agroalimentaire (PASCAA) du gouvernement fédéral. Ce projet-pilote a été mise en œuvre au printemps de 2007 pour une période de 2 ans. Ce projet visait principalement à soutenir des projets dont la réalisation permettra de formuler des recommandations pour élaboration d’une politique canadienne de rétribution de biens et services environnementaux (BSE).
Environ 1,2 millions de dollars ont été investis, dans le cadre du projet Lisière Verte, pour :
• aménager une bande riveraine cultivable de 9 mètres en continu le long des ruisseaux au Castor, Granger, Pelletier, Petit Ruisseau et Ewing (en foin ou autres cultures pérennes, ex : panic érigé);
• convertir des plaines inondables du bord de la rivière aux Brochets de culture annuelle en une culture pérenne;
• installer des ouvrages de contrôle de ruissellement (avaloir).
Le projet a permis de réaliser 98 hectares de bandes riveraines, convertir environ 50 hectares de plaines inondables et l’installation de 643 aménagements de contrôle de ruissellement.
De plus, le projet a été réalisé sur une base volontaire et comportait des compensassions de 337,50 $/hectare par année pour leur terrain occupé par ces bandes riveraines un paiement de 100 % du coûts des aménagements et une prime de lutte collective à l’eutrophisation pouvant atteindre jusqu’à 1000 $ par entreprise agricole



The program “Musketeers of Clear Water” was conceived by the Organization of the Missisquoi Bay Basin to inform and to take responsability for the student of the primary education on the notions of protection of water and the aquatic ecosystem. The program “Musketeers of Clear Water” includes four ranks of acquisition of multidisciplinary competences making it possible to the student to get information and to go to the defense of water and the aquatic ecosystem from where the analogy with the four musketeers: Porthos for the basin, Aramis for the aquatic ecosystem, Athos for the uses of water and Artagnan for water quality.


New Publications by the IRDA

The research and development team of the IRDA (Institute of Research and Development for the Agricultural Environment) are happy to announce a series of research reports targeted at the development of spatial reference management tools to characterize the hydrology and erosion of experimental landscapes. This research will enhance our understanding of nutrient loading in the basins.
L’équipe de recherche et développement en géomatique et bassins versants de l’IRDA est heureuse de mettre à votre disposition une série de rapports de recherche complétés dans la dernière année et ciblés sur le développement d’outil de gestion du parcellaire à référence spatiale, de même que la caractérisation de l’hydrologie, de l’érosion et des flux de nutriments dans des bassins versants expérimentaux.



Within the framework of the Plan of intervention 2007-2017 on the blue green algea of the Government of Quebec, the annual distribution campaign of trees is possible thanks to the collaboration of the Ministry for the Natural Resources and Wildlife (MRNF) and with the financial participation of the Ministry for Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks (MDDEP). Since 2007, 23 930 trees were distributed to landowners/shoreline owners. Attached is a summary 2007-2010.

-Ministere du Developpement durable, de l'Environnement et des Parcs

Landowners in Lake Champlain Watershed Protect Special Bird Habitat

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is working in partnership with landowners in Clinton and Essex counties in the Lake Champlain Watershed to protect habitat for shrub and grass land birds. Funding for the project is coming from President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative through the USDA NRCS Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program.

“Lake Champlain was chosen as a national signature project for America’s Great Outdoors Initiative because of its comprehensive pollution, control and restoration plan for protecting the water quality, wetlands, wildlife, recreational and cultural resources in the watershed. Important grassland and shrubland habitat management was a part of that plan, and we are pleased to use the Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program to help landowners manage those resources, along with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and New York Audubon,” said Marilyn Stephenson, Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations with USDA NRCS in New York.

Eighteen landowners in Clinton and Essex counties signed up to take advantage of incentive payments to create and protect habitat for grass and shrubland bird species such as the Golden-winged Warbler, American Woodcock, Blue-winged Warbler, Canada Warbler, Black-billed Cuckoo, Whip-poor-will, Ruffed Grouse, Brown Thrasher, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Towhee, Northern Harrier, Upland Sandpiper, Horned Lark, Sedge Wren, Eastern Bluebird, Clay-colored Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Grasshopper Sparrow, Henslow’s Sparrow, Dickcissel, Bobolink and Eastern Meadowlark.

Grassland birds are declining significantly in the Northeast due to the loss of suitable habitat. In some cases, haying or pasturing of animals can be a compatible farm use when mowing or grazing is done after July 15th. Mowing after this date allows birds time to nest and raise their young, and keeps grass and shrublands open for migrant songbirds.

“The Lake Champlain Watershed has several important bird habitat areas located in northeastern Clinton County, areas along Lake Champlain in central Essex County, and in Fort Edward in Washington County. We rely on private landowners to work with us to help protect habitat in these and other areas throughout the basin,” said Joe Wetzstein, USDA NRCS Acting District Conservationist for Clinton and Essex counties.

The Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to help participants manage wildlife habitat on private agricultural land, non-industrial private forest land, and Tribal land. WHIP in New York has two focus areas: enhancing early successional wildlife habitat with shrubland and establishing and enhancing grassland habitat for declining bird species, pollinators, and other grassland wildlife species. Examples of eligible practices include establishing plants which benefit wildlife, mowing to keep grass lands open for ground nesting songbirds, and early successional clearings to enhance shrubland habitat for migratory songbirds.

With offices in nearly every county in the United States, NRCS works with landowners and communities to improve our soil, water, air, plants, wildlife, and energy use. If you are interested in how you can protect habitat for grass and shrubland birds on your property, please contact your county NRCS office.


New York Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Teaching Multi-livestock Species Grazing in the Champlain Watershed

In early fall of last year, NRCS conducted a “Pasture-walk” on the Ben Wever Farm owned by Shaun and Linda Gillilland in Essex County, demonstrating the advantages of Prescribed Grazing of several livestock species. Diversifying the farm enterprise and to supply niche markets in neighboring urban areas, such as New York City and Albany with, Grass Fed Beef, Meat Goats, Pasture Poultry and Pork and Organic Milk.

Through the GCLI Program several partners including Natural Resources Conservation Service, Essex County Soil and Water Conservation District, Clinton County Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Adirondack North Country Association coordinated their efforts in developing this evening event. Twenty five local farmers walked the pastures and discussed various grazing techniques used to enhance pasture production, while still protecting natural resources such as water quality and soil erosion.

This pasture-walk is one of 43 similar Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative events conducted throughout New York state reaching 1896 livestock producers last year, covering a variety of grazing topics. GLCI funding was also use to train public and private professionals to develop Prescribed Grazing Plans to individual farms, improving farm production and economics and still protecting our natural environment. GLCI Steering Committee also held a student writing contest with four winner in different categories sharing their on farm experiences with grazing.

With offices in nearly every county in the United States, NRCS works with landowners and communities to improve our soil, water, air, plants, wildlife, and energy use. If you are interested in how you can protect resources on your farm, please contact your local NRCS office.


New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation Launches “Trees for Tribs" Stream Planting Program

Together with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today held the first tree planting event as part of the Lake Champlain Basin “Trees for Tributaries” program at Marcy Field (Municipal airstrip and multiuse park) in the Town of Keene, Essex County. Today’s planting served as a kick-off for the Lake Champlain tributary corridor tree planting program, to be a program of the State Tree Nursery in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County.

The program’s goals are to restore and protect the stream corridors that connect to Lake Champlain, comprising the Lake Champlain Watershed. At today’s event, volunteers and local groups planted trees along an area of the Ausable River corridor damaged by Tropical Storm Irene.

“In the wake of Tropical Storms Irene and Lee, homeowners and communities across the state have witnessed the devastation that swollen rivers and streams can pose to people and property,” Commissioner Martens said. “Our Lake Champlain Basin Trees for Tributaries program will provide no cost trees and shrubs to restore damaged banks of streams, tributaries and rivers damaged by the tropical storms and subsequent flooding. I am happy to announce this program in 2011, which Governor Andrew Cuomo has proclaimed New York Year of Forests to celebrate the United Nations’ International Year of Forests in recognition of the great importance of New York’s forests as the source of clean air and water, habitat for fish and wildlife, open space for public recreation and enjoyment, and a healthy forest products industry.”

The Lake Champlain Basin “Trees for Tributaries” program is one of several Lake Champlain conservation projects, which are part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative and these conservation projects are receiving a total of $1.3 million dollars. On October 12, 2011 the Obama Administration released a report which details how AGO is opening up access to lands and waters, restoring critical landscapes, and supporting thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity. The report outlines combined conservation and recreation successes, including gains in youth employment, new trail designations, the creation of urban campgrounds, and historic investments in large landscapes from Lake Champlain to the Florida Everglades.

“AGO is not only protecting our environment, it's creating jobs,” said United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “We're working with farmers and ranchers to conserve working agricultural lands; we're restoring our forests in ways that create jobs in recreation and forest products; and we're creating employment opportunities for young adults, veterans and others on our National Forests.”

“I’m very pleased with this newly launched effort focused on the health of rivers and streams in the Adirondacks severely damaged by the recent storms,” said Senator Betty Little. “Restoration follows recovery. Communities, landowners, sportsmen and environmentalists all are eager to begin the process of improving the quality and condition of these waterways and this is a great way to start.”

“DEC thanks NRCS for its support and partnership in the Lake Champlain Basin “Trees for Tributaries” program. The program is modeled after the Hudson River Estuary “Trees for Tributaries” program started by the Hudson River Estuary Program in 2007,” said New York State Forester Robert K. Davies. “This program will restore riparian areas, part of the “green infrastructure” that is the first line of defense against storm and flooding events, which have been identified as priorities in the state’s Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy, Open Space Conservation Plan, and Climate Action Plan.”

Creating the Lake Champlain Basin program provides a focus within state governments for the restoration, enhancement and protection of riparian areas and stream and tributary corridors. With the increased intensity and duration of storm events, taking action now to protect stream and tributary corridors is a tangible way for land owners to restore and protect their property from erosion and flooding. Studies have long documented the ability of trees and shrubs and other plant materials to absorb rain water and slow down water flows, as well as binding and stabilizing stream and riparian corridors banks.

In addition to stabilization benefits, trees and other natural vegetation along waterways (also called riparian forests) can reduce up to 69 percent of total nitrogen, 60 percent of total phosphorous, and 71 percent of total sediment from an average agricultural setting. Riparian buffer restoration is one of the most low cost ways to meet water quality goals established for major water bodies. Riparian forests also provide much-needed shading, cooling and food for trout and other fish habitat. DEC has enlisted the support of many partners including the federal government, local governments and volunteer watershed protection organizations that already are heavily involved in community and watershed protection programs.

In partnership with NRCS, the State Tree Nursery at Saratoga will be providing free native tree and shrubs grown at the State Tree Nursery. “The Saratoga Tree Nursery is proud to be providing native tree and shrub species for the Lake Champlain Basin “Trees for Tributaries” program,” said Nursery Manager David Lee. “Planting stock is grown from seed and cutting stock sourced within New York State to provide trees and shrubs best adapted to the climate of the state.”

The “Trees for Tributaries” program will coordinate volunteer and technical assistance for landowners within the Lake Champlain watershed to protect their stream and riparian corridors through a tree and shrub planting effort next spring. A similar program within New York’s upper Susquehanna watershed is also being funded in partnership with the federal Chesapeake Bay program. Private landowners, municipalities and not-for-profit landowners within the New York portion of the Lake Champlain watershed will be eligible to apply to participate in the “Trees for Tributaries” program. Applications will be sought this winter for spring plantings.

-New York State Dept of Environmental Conservation

Farm, Forest and Fishery Tour

The replica canal schooner, Lois McClure, embarked on the two-month Farm, Forest and Fishery Tour in the summer/fall of 2011. The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM), the creator and operator of the vessel visited 15 ports of call in Vermont and New York. The tour started just two weeks before Hurricane Irene devastated many of the towns along the Champlain and Erie canals. The Lois McClure rode out the flooding anchored on Otter Creek in Vergennes, but voyaged down the Champlain Canal shortly after. Several events were canceled and some postponed due to flood damage.

The Farm, Forest and Fishery Tour interpretive message was timely. In addition to educating visitors to the boat about the history of the interconnected waterways of Lake Champlain, the tour provided interpretation on landscape change and how erosion from unsustainable land use affects water quality and wildlife. The Lois McClure was also “sailing to raise awareness” about aquatic invasive species and provided tips to stop their spread.

The Farm, Forest and Fishery Tour was supported, in part, by the Lake Champlain Basin Program/Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership with funds from the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission.

Image #1 Cutline: Artist Mahlon paints the Lois McClure at Larrabee’s Point in Vermont. (photo courtesy LCMM)


Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) Management Plan Approved

The United States Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar visited the Champlain Valley on August 15, 2011. Part of Secretary Salazar’s visit was to recognize the approval of the CVNHP Management Plan/Environmental Assessment by his department. After three years of planning, the CVNHP was recognized as a “fully fledged” national heritage area by the Department of Interior on May 13, 2011. Implementation for the management plan—a component to OFA—has begun. See the OFA Cultural Heritage and Recreation chapter for details on accomplishments to date.


War of 1812 Interpretive Trail in the Champlain Valley

In 2012, the communities in the Champlain Valley will commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812. A decisive American victory at the Battle of Plattsburgh on September 11, 1814 ended a British invasion, marked the last naval battle of the conflict, and gave the United States a stronger standing for the peace treaty that ended the war. While largely overlooked, the War of 1812 solidified the United States as a sovereign nation, spurred Canadian nationalism, and set the stage for the modern American political system.

The Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) worked with partners in New York and Vermont to develop a series of bilingual (English and French) interpretive signs to provide a better understanding of the conflict and its aftermath. The CVNHP unveiled the War of 1812 Interpretive Trail on September 5, 2011, just prior to the Battle of Plattsburgh Weekend in Plattsburgh, NY. Wayside exhibits interpret the British land invasion from Quebec, including locations of the Army’s encampments, various headquarters, and field hospitals. Additional interpretive signs describe the land skirmishes between the King’s troops and American forces. Other wayside exhibits interpret the U.S.S. Saratoga, the survey of the U.S./Canadian border following the war, and the lives of African-Americans at the time.

The CVNHP provided translation and design assistance along with complete fabricated interpretive signs—an estimated $1,500 value—at 11 sites. Each new sign includes a “QR code” for use by smartphones. The project was partially funded through a partnership with the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.


Site Last Updated: March 18, 2015

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