Besides the beautiful green mountains, Vermont is well-known for our water resources. From the highest mountain streams to majestic Lake Champlain, Vermont's water systems provide unique animal habitat, human recreational opportunities, and help to sustain the people who live here.
Much of the concern with water quality in Vermont has focused on Lake Champlain and its tributaries. The Lake Champlain Basin stretches from the peaks of the Adirondacks to the Green Mountains and north into Quebec. This area is renowned as one of North America's most beautiful and valued resources.
Dollar figures alone cannot convey the full value of Lake Champlain's resources. The biological riches of the area and unparalleled beauty of the mountains, historic resources, agricultural landscapes, small towns and villages, and rivers that flow into the magnificent lake provide experiences and opportunities unique to the Lake Champlain Basin.
Although Lake Champlain remains a vital lake with many assets, there are several serious environmental problems that demand action. Phosphorus levels in parts of Lake Champlain are so high they cause excessive algal growth. In recent years these algae blooms have become toxic, prohibiting the use of these areas for swimming and other recreational uses. Although much progress has been made to reduce phosphorus, primarily at sewage treatment facilities and on agricultural lands, phosphorus inputs from point and nonpoint sources must be further reduced to promote a healthy ecosystem and full human use and enjoyment of the lake.
While Lake Champlain tends to be the focus of NRCS water quality work in Vermont, many other areas have been identified as target priorities. For the last two years the Missisquoi Bay Watershed in northwest Vermont has been selected as the targeted funding area for the America's Great Outdoors initative (AGO). The objective of this intiative is to work with farmers on a one-on-one basis to apply conservation to identified areas of nutrient loading in the basin and promote the use and enjoyment of this beautiful water resource. NRCS has also worked closely to improve customer outreach efforts in the Connecticut River Valley and most sub-watersheds throughout the state. For more information about the AGO program, please see our AGO website pages.