LCC Winter 2020 E-News – Climate Action, Introducing Lauren Sopher, Good Chemistry, Wood Notes, Black Holes, Kwawaldam & More

Lake Champlain Committee

Winter’s Wane 2020 E-News

Happy Valentine’s Day! In this issue of Enews we share some recent legislative initiatives (including a call to action on climate change for Vermont members), introduce you to Director of Science & Water Programs Lauren Sopher (read her Lake Look column about Lakeshore Grasslands below) and let you know of some funding that will assist our Trail and field projects. Please read on for those updates along with clean lake tips, nature notes and water news from near and far.

On this special day when love is in the air, we send you our deep thanks for staying engaged and invested in the work for clean, accessible water. We hope you get to take in the special beauty of Lake Champlain in winter.


Lori Fisher, Executive Director

2020 Climate Action – Your Help Needed

Recognizing that climate change poses an existential threat to Lake Champlain water quality, LCC was among 30 diverse organizations to present a policy plan of action to Vermont leaders in January. Since 2006, the state has had statutory goals to cut carbon pollution but we are very far from meeting them. Vermont is falling behind its Northeast neighbors in making pollution reductions, in part because the state lacks requirements to do so.

Read more…

Advancing An Environmental Common Agenda

Earlier this month Jared Carpenter, LCC’s Water Protection Advocate, joined with colleagues from the Vermont Conservation Voters, Vermont Natural Resource Council and other organizations to present the 2020 Environmental Common Agenda. The Common Agenda represents priorities of environmental groups across Vermont who are working to engage policy makers and citizens on important issues that affect water, air, land, wildlife, communities and health.

Read more…

Meet Lauren Sopher, LCC’s Director of Science & Water Programs

In July 2019, LCC welcomed Lauren Sopher to the staff as our Director of Science and Water Programs. Lauren grew up in Vermont traipsing after frogs and toads along Monroe Brook, paddling the LaPlatte River, and exploring Lake Champlain’s surface and shorelines. Her passions are grounded in ecology, people, art, and design.

Read more…

REI Grant Advances LCC’s Trail & Field Work

A grant from outdoor gear co-op REI will enable LCC to purchase signage for Lake Champlain Paddlers’ Trail sites, update website content, and produce informational materials about the Trail. The funds will also cover a touring kayak and related gear for LCC field programs. “This REI grant will help us publicize the Trail, re-sign locations and upgrade our equipment,” notes LCC Executive Director Lori Fisher. “We’re grateful for the support to advance our stewardship.” REI will also be partnering with LCC on April Stools’ Day and aquatic invasive species assessments. “REI believes access to healthy waterways is a right for all.

Read more…

Lake Look

Winter Shapes Lakeshore Grasslands

Lakeshore and grassland are like yin and yang: seemingly opposite forces that are complimentary. The lakeshore provides water disturbance to the grass and the grassland provides shoreline stabilization to the lake—both processes shape this natural system. When we think of grasslands, images of megafauna grazing on vast expanses of grass in the Midwestern United States or Africa come to mind. Read more…


Good Chemistry – Cleaning Up with Non-Toxic Cleaners

Every space gets dirty. Whether at home, at work, or somewhere in between, most of us use cleaning products on a regular basis to tidy up. While commercial products may get things squeaky clean, they can also do more harm than good. Many contain ingredients that can be acutely toxic; carcinogenic or mutagenic; irritating to skin, eyes or lungs; non-biodegradable; poisonous to aquatic organisms; or water and air polluting. Some common components of store bought cleaners to watch out for include ammonium, formaldehyde, glycol ethers, sodium borate, sodium laureth sulfates along with artificial colors, dyes and fragrances.

Read more…


Woody What?

Plant identification is not restricted to a particular season. Though woody plants can be difficult to identify in winter, the activity adds a new dynamic to winter adventures and is a fun challenge. Read on for identification tips about two common wetland shrub species, speckled alder (Alnus incana) and red-osier dogwood (Swida sericea), along with their value and role in wetland ecology. Read more…


Lake Champlain’s Black Holes

There is great potential behind a hole in the ice. On Lake Champlain, those holes are often related to ice fishing. You can make ice fishing what you want it to be: a social or solo activity, over a short or long timespan, and on open ice or under the cover of a shanty. No matter the approach, it’s an activity that gets folks outside and interacting with the natural world in the wintertime. Read more…

WATER NEWs from near and far

‘Kwawaldam?’: Middlebury Language Schools to Offer Abenaki Pilot Program

In partnership with Jesse Bowman Bruchac, a Nulhegan Abenaki citizen and a teacher of the Abenaki language, the Middlebury Language Schools is launching a pilot School of Abenaki in summer 2020. Native to New England and Quebec, the Abenaki language is considered endangered. Read more…

Outdoor Radio: Wintertime With North American Beavers

Beavers are active year-round. Explore what a beaver lodge and dam is like in the wintertime with conservation biologist, Steve Faccio, and Outdoor Radio co-hosts, Kent McFarland and Sarah Zahendra, at a frozen beaver pond in Pomfret, VT. From huddling together in lodges to storing their winter stash of food in the snow, you’ll learn about how North America’s largest rodent faces winter. Read more…

Needle Ice: Nature’s Pasta Extruder

Ice formations are a wonderful display of winter. Temperature gradients impact the formation and type of ice we observe. Water at or near the soil surface freezes and expands into the open space above ground, creating spectacular columns of ice, reminiscent of crystal chandeliers. Read more…

Trump Removes Pollution Controls on Streams and Wetlands

The Trump Administration recently finalized a rule that removes protections on waterbodies across the country. Trump’s new rule, “Navigable Waters Protection Rule,” rolls back crucial components of the Obama administration’s 2015 rule, “Waters of the United States” and the 1972 Clean Water Act. Read more…

Unprecedented Data Confirms That Antarctica’s Most Dangerous Glacier Is Melting From Below

Scientists studying Antartica’s Thwaites Glacier, larger in size than the state of Pennsylvania, are concerned about rising water temperatures at its “grounding line.”  Read more…

Moving? Changing Email Addresses?

If so, please email us so we can update your files and ensure you receive news on lake issues and LCC’s work. Email is our primary form of communication with members. Mailing electronically saves time and resources and reinforces the stewardship ethic of our mission. We don’t give away or sell email addresses.

Lake Champlain Committee Board of Directors

Gary Kjelleren – Chair (South Hero, VT), Sandy Montgomery – Treasurer (Montreal, QC), Alan Booth (Plattsburgh, NY), Cliff Landesman (Brooklyn, NY), Jess Phelps (Northfield, VT), Ann Ruzow Holland (Willsboro, NY), Hank Slauson (Shelburne, VT), Chuck Woessner (Grand Isle, VT).

Lake Champlain Committee Advisory Council

Lisa Borre (Annapolis, MD), Megan Epler Wood (Burlington, VT), Steven Kellogg (Essex, NY), Peter S. Paine Jr. (Willsboro, NY), Bob Paquin (Shelburne, VT), Mary Watzin (NC).

Staff & Support

Lori Fisher, Executive Director
Alexa Hachigian, Field Associate/Office Manager
Lauren Sopher, Director of Science and Water Programs
Jared Carpenter, Water Protection Advocate
Grace Jia, ECO AmeriCorps Education and Outreach Coordinator

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