Our Common Challenge
How can we ensure our water is fishable, swimmable and drinkable for years to come?
Who needs to act and what should they do?
Vermont Clean Water Network participants are collaborating to answer these critical questions and take action.
Each day in Vermont, flowing water carries pollutants like fertilizers and road salt, pesticides, driveway and road residues, and soil containing nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen into our streams, rivers, ponds and lakes. The results are pervasive algae blooms, cyanobacteria and pollution that make swimming, fishing and other types of recreation potentially harmful. They also threaten sensitive ecosystems, our tourism and recreation economy, and quality of life.
This pollution occurs even though state and local agencies, municipalities, and individual Vermonters have been battling these issues for decades with the help of federal, state and local dollars. Most recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for how much phosphorus can be in certain areas of Lake Champlain in order for the Lake to recover.
Understanding that the stakes are high, key legislators, organizations and decision makers collaborated to craft and fund a landmark law to improve water quality in our streams, rivers and lakes - the Vermont Clean Water Act. Signed by the governor in June 2015, the law establishes a framework for the extraordinary effort needed to meet the goal of achieving clean waters in all our multiple watersheds. Now our challenge will be to fund, enforce, and implement the actions outlined in the Act.
State, federal and non-profit agencies are now working through this framework to address water quality issues across the state, with special focus on the the targets contained within the Lake Champlain TMDL. Yet the size and scope of Vermont’s multiple watersheds make it daunting for everyone to fully understand the impacts of Vermont citizenry and businesses on water quality.
Who We Are
We are a statewide network of networks comprised of more than 100 organizations, businesses, government agencies, and individuals dedicating to creating a culture of clean water.
Our Vision - A Culture of Clean Water
Vermonters and visitors understand the value of clean water to our economy, natural systems, and well-being, and take actions and make investments to restore and protect Vermont’s waters.
In 2015, Voices for the Lake, a partnership of ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain and All Souls Interfaith Gathering, led a process to create an all encompassing understanding of Vermont’s water quality issues. Through this process, more than 100 representatives from diverse organizations and agencies around Vermont created a system map that identifies key “levers” or opportunities essential to fostering a culture of clean water.
In 2016, these organizations launched the Vermont Clean Water Network to begin creating a culture of clean water. ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain provides backbone support for the Network.
The Vermont Clean Water Network empowers Vermonters to understand, care and act to restore and protect Vermont’s waters. We do this by:
Amplifying, aligning and supporting participants' work
Exploring emerging opportunities for collaborative action
Engaging participants in shared learning opportunities
Celebrating the successful work underway