About the Lake Champlain Watershed

Lake Champlain Basin

The Lake Champlain watershed or basin encompasses eight thousand 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 and the lake is centered within a watershed that is 19 times larger than the lake itself. This watershed-to-lake area ratio is 3-4 times larger than the Great Lakes and amplifies the impacts of land use management on water quality. 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 the Lake Champlain watershed from the video Nebi: Abenaki Ways of Knowing Water

Lake Champlain Sea Grant's Role in the Basin

Lake Champlain Sea Grant (LCSG) supports and offers education, outreach, and applied research activities to enhance the sustainable use, restoration, and development of the Lake Champlain ecosystem. Since its inception, LCSG has focused on maintaining and improving the economic and environmental vitality of the Lake Champlain basin by building stronger partnerships with communities, businesses, and schools. LCSG activities inform and educate the watershed’s inhabitants and visitors about actions needed to protect the quality of Lake Champlain waters, the basin’s coastal region, and other natural and cultural resources. LCSG offers research-based education and outreach programs for sustainable business development, which generates income and support for important resource protection goals.