UVM, SUNY-Plattsburgh receive national recognition, additional funding for Lake Champlain Sea Grant Institute

By Julianna White, Research Program Coordinator (Email the author)
September 30, 2020

The Lake Champlain Sea Grant (LCSG) Institute attracted additional federal funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for research, outreach, and education to benefit the Lake Champlain basin.

A blue-ribbon review panel convened by the National Sea Grant program in NOAA lauded the LCSG for addressing the concerns of communities on both sides of Lake Champlain and supporting research that contributes to the knowledge base in the region.

“Time and again the review team heard strong endorsement of the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Institute from a range of stakeholders, who indicated that Lake Champlain Sea Grant Extension staff are providing them with actionable information and, in the case of educators, instructional resources and professional development that meet the requirements of their school districts,” wrote Jonathan Pennock, director of the National Sea Grant College Program, in his congratulatory letter.

Lake Champlain Sea Grant scored in the upper third of the 34 Sea Grant programs nationally, earning it a permanent increase to its base funding. Beginning February 1, 2022, Lake Champlain Sea Grant will have an operating budget of $1,279,000 per year. In 2018, the funding level for this program was $400,000 per year.

“This is impressive growth by a high functioning team,” said Kirk Dombrowski, vice president for research at the University of Vermont.

“I am proud of the outstanding work of the Lake Champlain Sea Grant program as reflected by this excellent peer review, and I offer my congratulations and thanks to Sea Grant staff at both UVM and SUNY Plattsburgh,” said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who was instrumental in establishing the Lake Champlain Sea Grant program. “Keep up this good and important work!”

Established in 1999, Lake Champlain Sea Grant supports and conducts education, outreach, and applied research to maintain and improve the economic and environmental vitality of the Lake Champlain basin. It has strong partnerships with communities, businesses, and schools as well as state governments in New York and Vermont. Through Lake Champlain Sea Grant outreach, education and research, individuals , businesses, and communities build knowledge of watershed science, land use planning, sustainable development, and hazard resiliency. In turn, these audiences take action to protect and improve water quality.

Since the inception of Watershed Alliance, the Institute’s flagship education program, in the early 2000s, Watershed Alliance has reached over 15,000 K-12 students and teachers from urban and rural areas in the basin. In fiscal year 2019, Watershed Alliance reached 3,500 K-12 students and teachers, including over 1,000 students visiting the Rubenstein Ecosystem Sciences Laboratory or its research vessel, the Melosira.

The Lake Champlain Sea Grant Institute is a cooperative effort of the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont (UVM) and the Lake Champlain Research Institute at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh. It operates through partnerships with UVM Extension, state and local government agencies, and numerous other local organizations.