About the Lake Champlain Watershed

Lake Champlain Basin

The Lake Champlain watershed or basin encompasses 8,000 square miles of mountains, forests, farmlands and communities which all drain into Lake Champlain. The lake is 120 miles long, 400 feet deep and 12 miles across at its widest point. Outside of the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain is one of the largest freshwater bodies in the United States and is a highly valued international resource.

The Vermont and New York portions of the Lake Champlain basin are home to nearly 500,000 people, with another 100,000 people in the Canadian portions of the watershed. At least 45% of the population relies on Lake Champlain for drinking water (Lake Champlain Basin Program 2018). Lake Champlain’s shoreline is 587 miles long. The lake is centered within a watershed that is 19 times larger than the lake itself, and thus the impacts of land use management on water quality are high. The 19:1 land-to-lake ratio in the Lake Champlain basin is 9 times larger than the average ratio of the Great Lakes.

Many people who live in the Lake Champlain basin are dependent on the lake for jobs, recreation, and quality of life. People from around the world visit the lake and basin to enjoy its cultural and military history, abundant biological resources, and opportunities for recreation.

View a map of the Lake Champlain watershed and its tributaries provided by the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

Learn more about Indigenous stewardship in the Lake Champlain watershed from the video Nebi: Abenaki Ways of Knowing Water and about Indigenous lands from the Native Lands map, created by Native Land Digital, a Canadian not-for-profit organization.

Learn about Lake Champlain Sea Grant's mission, goals, and role in the basin.