Kris Stepenuck Appointed to NY Governor’s Adirondack Road Salt Task Force

By Shari Halik
January 31, 2022

Kris Stepenuck, extension leader of Lake Champlain Sea Grant, could be called a road salt shaker and mover.

Stepenuck works to educate about road salt use and its impacts on our environment and waterways throughout the Lake Champlain basin of Vermont and New York, including the Adirondack region. Through training events, online tools, and educational videos, she helps homeowners, businesses, winter maintenance professionals, municipalities, and now state government, with road salt application decisions.

In December 2021, New York Governor Kathy Hochul appointed Stepenuck to the Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force charged with protecting the state’s waterways and environments from further pollution caused by road salt use.

“It is an honor to serve the people and state of New York as a member of this task force as we work to better understand and make recommendations about road salt best practices that can benefit the environment and people of the Adirondacks,” said Stepenuck, associate director of Lake Champlain Sea Grant and extension associate professor with University of Vermont (UVM) Extension and the UVM Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources.

Learn more about Stepenuck's appointment on the New York State Governor’s website. Stepenuck joins Lake Champlain Sea Grant program advisory committee member Dan Kelting who was also appointed to the task force. Kelting serves as vice president of research at Paul Smith’s College.

Stepenuck partners with Vermont’s City of South Burlington, where she lives, to learn from and share best practices of the city’s Department of Public Works, which serves as a leader and a model in the state for road salt reduction, to work towards protecting streams and Lake Champlain. Chronically high chloride levels from road salt run-off can ultimately impact the health of aquatic life and plants and the safety of drinking water. 

She collaborated with South Burlington personnel Tom DiPietro, environmental services director; Adam Cate, operations manager; and Dan Guillmette, vehicle maintenance manager, to create videos that teach about salt use and safe salt reduction. City staff join Stepenuck in educating other municipalities and contractors at salt summits, workshop events hosted by Lake Champlain Sea Grant with Vermont and New York partners.

Read more about South Burlington’s salt success story in the December 16, 2021 article “Salt Shrinkage Saves Streams, Cuts Costs” in South Burlington’s The Other Paper.

Learn more about Lake Champlain Sea Grant's outreach efforts to help reduce road salt impacts and protect water quality.