Fall Webinars Feature Research on Conservation in Agriculture, Spiny Softshell Turtles, Road Salt Storage, and Cyanobacteria Blooms—Register in Advance Today!

By Anna Marchessault
September 05, 2023

Lake Champlain Sea Grant is pleased to host four research webinars on topics critical to the environment and economies of the Lake Champlain basin and important in watersheds around the world.

Farmers’ Attitudes Towards Government Agencies and Conservation Programs in Vermont’s Lake Champlain Basin

For our first research webinar on September 27, Kate Longfield of the University of Vermont will discuss her investigations into Vermont farmers’ attitudes towards conservation practices, government conservation programs, and the federal and state government agencies that oversee them. She will also describe research exploring Vermont farmers’ trust in these federal and state agencies, including the United States federal government and the Vermont state government. She will delve into research methods, findings, and next steps. Kate is completing her master’s in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont, graduating in October 2023, and is being advised by Lake Champlain Sea Grant Associate Director and Extension Leader Kris Stepenuck. Register here.

Understanding Spiny Softshell (Apalone spinifera) Nesting Habitat Selection in Vermont

On October 25, Destini Acosta, a graduate student being advised by Assistant Professor Brittany Mosher at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, will share her research centered around the spiny softshell turtle. Due to shoreline habitat loss around Lake Champlain, the spiny softshell now nests in only 4 locations in Vermont, and the total population is estimated to be fewer than 300 individuals. Their research focuses on turtle nest site selection with the hopes of identifying factors that make for ideal nesting sites. This talk will review research, findings, and impacts for decision-makers, non-profit conservation groups, and private landowners. Register here.

Mapping Road Salt Storage Facilities in Vermont’s Lake Champlain Basin: An Analysis of Potential Drinking Water Impacts in Vulnerable Communities

On November 29, Stephanie Hurley, Associate Professor at the University of Vermont, and Dana Allen, Principal at FluidState Consulting, will discuss the potential year-round impacts of road salt storage in the Lake Champlain basin. While deicing materials applied to roads represent a distributed, ephemeral source of salts, deicing material storage facilities are a potential year-round source of materials that can negatively impact drinking water wells. This talk will describe a 2022 study funded by the Vermont Water Resources and Lake Studies Center. Funding supported the development of a geospatial database of deicing storage facilities in the Vermont portion of the Lake Champlain basin and an evaluation of the potential for drinking water impacts in vulnerable communities. Register here.

Seasonal Dynamics of Lake Champlain Microbial Ecology: Exploring Seasonal Variation and Linkages to Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms

On December 13, Erin Eggleston from Middlebury College will talk about what was considered, until recently, a summer issue in Lake Champlain—cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms (CHABs). But what’s happening with cyanobacteria the rest of the year? This talk will focus on Eggleston’s team’s work investigating the microbial ecology of CHAB communities across seasons to observe and characterize the relationships among cyanobacteria, viruses, and microbes. Preliminary data show interesting microbial and viral populations trends by season, as well as functional influence of viruses on carbon metabolism in summer CHABs. Register here.

Each webinar will begin at noon. A 30-minute presentation will be followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer period.  We hope you will join us.

See all Lake Champlain Sea Grant events.