Got Five Minutes? You Can Help Lake Champlain.

Be a part of grassroots clean water advocacy in Vermont

Pollution is harming Lake Champlain, but Vermonters are fighting for their lake through grassroots advocacy. Photo: IStock/cmart7327

As the Lake Champlain Lakekeeper, I get to work directly with Vermonters to help restore Lake Champlain to a clean, safe natural treasure. Excessive pollution has harmed Vermont’s waters, but the people of Vermont are fighting back. This summer, I visited six communities throughout Lake Champlain Basin to discuss the threats to clean water and brainstorm possible solutions.

From up north in St. Albans all the way down to Rutland, concerned Vermonters came together to share their stories. People told me about toxic, green water; beach closures; and lowered property values. These community visits connected local activists, providing a forum to build on one another’s work.

Looking back on the summer and forward to our next legislative session, here are my takeaways:

Vermonters Are Worried About Our Water

It’s clear that toxic blue-green algae outbreaks and raw sewage dumps into Lake Champlain are top priorities. Dozens of Vermonters shared stories of heading to the beach on a wicked hot day this summer only to be turned back by a sign warning them to steer clear of the water. While a closed beach is certainly disappointing, people also shared their health concerns. Many reported noxious smells, headaches, and feeling lightheaded after spending time near the lake.  

Ultimately, Vermonters are worried about their safety because the state’s waters aren’t healthy. 

You Can Take Action to Help Our Waters

I met lots of Vermonters who are taking matters into their own hands. Some have joined their local watershed group to participate in water sampling and tree plantings. Others are contacting their legislators to demand increased spending on lake cleanup efforts.

You can get involved, too, whether you’ve got five minutes, an hour, or more.

5 Minutes

1 Hour

1 Day


Email your senators and representatives.

Tell your legislators that clean water is important to you and ask what they are doing to clean up Lake Champlain.

Join our Lakekeeper Activist Network.

Keep up with our clean water advocacy in Vermont.

Write an op-ed to your local paper.

Pick a threat to clean water and write about your concerns. Consider including the need for increased investment in clean water.

Learn more about the threats to Lake Champlain.
Visit the State House.

Visit the Senate and House Natural Resource Committees or meet with your legislators and let them know how important clean water is to you.

Volunteer at a watershed cleanup.
Become a CLF member.

Join us to be a part of our continuing advocacy to clean up Vermont’s waterways.

Join your local clean water action group.

How It Makes A Difference

Last legislative session, two grassroots organizing efforts made real change. One group of citizens from Lake Carmi traveled to the State House day after day from January to May. They successfully lobbied for greater action on polluted waters known as “lakes in crisis.” The persistence and grit of a single community resulted in legislative action.

Vermont’s youth also showed their collective power on another issue of critical importance: gun control. When the State House filled with teenagers demanding safety in their schools, the legislature and Governor listened.

Together, these efforts demonstrate the value of community-based organizing and participating in policymaking.

When the next legislative session starts in January, I’m looking forward to collaborating with Vermonters to demand quick action on clean water and to hold our legislators accountable. Thank you for all that you do to make a difference.

Before you go... CLF is working every day to create real, systemic change for New England’s environment. And we can’t solve these big problems without people like you. Will you be a part of this movement by considering a contribution today? If everyone reading our blog gave just $10, we’d have enough money to fund our legal teams for the next year.