Report on Lake Champlain shows continued phosphorus concerns
The Lake Champlain Basin Program released State of the Lake and Ecosystems Indicators Report 2012. The report informs citizens and resource managers about Lake Champlain's condition and provides a better understanding of threats to its health and opportunities to meet the challenges ahead.
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Excess phosphorus remains a concern throughout the Lake. Wastewater treatment facilities are meeting their targets, and loading trends in a few tributaries have improved over the last decade, but much work remains in reducing nutrients from the landscape. Until phosphorus concentrations in the Lake are reduced, algae blooms will occur when weather conditions are favorable. Beach closures are less frequent than in the past, but they do continue, especially near urban areas. Improvements to WWTFs and reductions of combined sewer overflow will help reduce closures in the future.
Management of fish, plants, and wildlife remains a vitally important challenge. Sea lamprey control efforts have been very successful in achieving targets for lake trout and Atlantic salmon but at the cost of introducing lampricides into waterways. Fish consumption advisories for mercury and PCBs remain in place for many species, but New York’s recent lifting of special consumption advisories for Cumberland Bay and recent data showing decreases in mercury in fish tissue are encouraging. New invasive species are poised to enter the Basin from all directions, but the rate of invasions has been reduced since 2000. Asian clam, now in Lake George, is one step closer to Lake Champlain, and infestations of a new watermilfoil species have been found at both ends of the Lake. Much progress has been made in the effort to control the impact of water chestnut.
Flood resiliency has dominated lake and tributary discussions since 2011. Preliminary analyses indicate that nutrient delivery to the Lake from most tributaries was well above the 20-year average, and in-lake phosphorus concentrations were above average as well. Management agencies around the Basin are developing flood resiliency plans to mitigate impacts of flood events in the future.
A more detailed answer must be given in terms of the five segments of Lake Champlain; each has its own conditions, and its own story. The map heresummarizes water quality (WQ), human health (HH), and aquatic invasive species (AIS) issues for each Lake segment.
The map here summarizes water quality (WQ), human health (HH), and aquatic invasive species (AIS) issues for each Lake segment.
The LCBP has launched an online version of the State of the Lake, which includes all the content in the print document as well as supplemental material and additional French translation.