Op/Ed

Letter to the editor: After 30 years, phosphorus still poluting the lake

How it started:
The Vermont Agricultural Water Quality Partnership was formed following enactment of the Lake Champlain Special Designation Act of 1990, sponsored by Vermont Sens. Patrick Leahy and Jim Jeffords and New York Sens. Patrick Moynihan and Alphonse D’Amato. The goal was “to bring together government agencies and other organizations with diverse interests in the lake to create a comprehensive pollution prevention, control and restoration plan for protecting the future of the lake and its surrounding watershed.” Members of the group were:
USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service; Vermont Association of Conservation Districts; Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets; U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; University of Vermont Cooperative Extension; USDA Farm Service Agency; Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Conservation; Lake Champlain Basin Program; and Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.
How it’s going:
“Phosphorus concentrations across most of Lake Champlain have generally been stable or have increased…. Monitoring data show that the last five years have seen increasing trends in phosphorus concentrations … particularly the Main Lake, Burlington Bay, and near Port Henry. Missisquoi Bay phosphorus concentrations have been increasing steadily over the last two decades and… remain well above their established annual targets. St. Albans Bay, the Northeast Arm (Inland Sea), and South Lake A also exceed their targets.”
— LCBP State of the Lake Report, 2012
“Phosphorus concentrations have not decreased significantly in any areas of Lake Champlain… Long-term trends since 1990 indicate that phosphorus concentrations in several segments continue to increase.”
— LCBP State of the Lake Report, 2015
“From 1990 to 2017, most segments (of the lake) did not show long-term trends in phosphorus concentration, though the Northeast Arm showed an increasing trend over this time period.”
— LCBP State of the Lake Report, 2018
James H. Maroney, Jr.
Leicester

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