Montpelier, Vt. – A newly released report from the Agency of Natural Resources shows water quality improvement in Vermont as a result of public investment over the past four years.
The Vermont Clean Water Initiative 2019 Performance Report details state investment in water quality projects, totaling $138 million, to support projects on 28,000 acres of agricultural lands, 169 miles of municipal roads and 222 acres of pavement or other hard surfaces. These investments also helped to conserve or restore nearly 2,000 acres of river corridors, floodplains, lakeshores, forests and wetlands.
“I’m pleased to see that state financial investments and the hard work of many public and private partners are paying off in the improved health of waterways around Vermont,” said Governor Phil Scott. “This ongoing work is critical in both protecting our environment and strengthening our outdoor recreation and tourism industries.”
This year’s annual report features a new section on progress in reducing phosphorus pollution in Lake Champlain, which can contribute to algae blooms that pose safety risks to humans and animals, limiting recreational use. State and federal funding programs, coupled with water quality regulations, prevented an estimated 16.4 metric tons of phosphorus from entering Lake Champlain last year. The report also details external factors that will continue to affect progress in Lake Champlain, including land use and climate change.
“Vermont’s investments in clean water are making a measurable difference to improve water quality, while also supporting public health and safety, flood resilience, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, and the working landscape,” said Administration Secretary Susanne Young. “We’re making significant progress and we’re on track to see more rapid, large-scale results in the coming years.”
“Lake Champlain is a large complex natural system that has been impacted by phosphorus pollution for decades and it will take many years of steadfast stewardship for the lake to recover,” said Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore. “This report provides intermediate measures of progress that indicate, just a few years into the 20-year recovery plan for Lake Champlain, that we are on the right track and the collective efforts of local, state, and federal organizations are making a difference.”
In addition to the Vermont Clean Water Initiative 2019 Performance Report, the Clean Water Project Explorer allows users to search and discover individual water quality projects online. The Vermont Clean Water Initiative 2019 Performance Report and the Clean Water Project Explorer are available online at dec.vermont.gov/water-investment/cwi/projects.