Mark Mitchell Joins Lake Champlain Sea Grant as Lakes Monitoring and Community Outreach Coordinator

By Shari Halik
July 09, 2021

Lake Champlain Sea Grant, in partnership with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), has hired Mark Mitchell as the new Lakes Monitoring and Community Outreach Coordinator. Mark is not new to the Vermont DEC and its lake monitoring program. He has assisted and managed the DEC’s Vermont Lay Monitoring Program for lake water quality sampling at different periods over the past twelve years.

In his new position, Mark will lead community-driven monitoring of water quality across Vermont’s lakes and ponds, in support of the work of the Vermont DEC Lakes and Ponds Program and Lake Champlain Sea Grant.

“I’m excited about reconnecting with lake users and volunteers around Vermont to continue gathering valuable long-term water quality data that informs scientifically based management of our watersheds,” said Mark. “The data will be used to assess aquatic ecosystem health and provide training and assistance to local communities to take the necessary restorative and protective actions.”

Mark will provide outreach to stakeholders and local decision-makers to aid the public in addressing lake management challenges and to help communities become more hazard resilient by understanding and preparing for changing climatic conditions.

"We are thrilled to welcome Mark Mitchell to our team," said Kris Stepenuck, Lake Champlain Sea Grant Extension Leader. "His knowledge and expertise about lake ecosystems and community engagement, and about Vermont’s lakes and the Vermont Lay Monitoring program in particular, make him the ideal leader for our expanded partnership with the Vermont DEC."

A world traveler, Mark grew up in Pennsylvania and earned his bachelor’s degree in forestry from Virginia Tech in 2002, which included a year at the Victorian School of Forestry in Australia. He then earned his master’s degree in limnology at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland in 2008.

In 2009, Mark began working with the Vermont DEC Lakes and Ponds Program as a seasonal environmental technician. In 2013, he took a job as a seasonal fisheries technician with the US Forest Service in California and spent a winter as a State of Alaska certified crab observer on fishing vessels in the Bering Sea.

He returned to the Vermont DEC Lakes and Ponds Program in 2015 as an environmental scientist involved in volunteer monitoring, assessment, and permitting. After the past year in New Zealand as a water quality scientist with Horizons Regional Council on the North Island, Mark returned to Vermont to join Lake Champlain Sea Grant.