Evaluating Drivers of Contaminant Exposure Risk Among Angling Groups in the Lake Champlain Basin


February 1, 2022 to January 31, 2024


Researchers will conduct community-based participatory research to determine how fish species preference, consumption behavior, angling locations, and advisory knowledge contribute to inequitable contaminant exposure risk among indigenous, immigrant, and recreational anglers in the Lake Champlain basin. Researchers will evaluate contaminant exposure risks to subsistence anglers from fish consumption in the Lake Champlain basin and the factors driving exposure risk; develop materials for risk communication based on the study results and inform the future development of a fish consumption advisory; and conduct community outreach and education for risk reduction.  

Subsistence angling for food security or to support cultural values may be common among immigrant, refugee, and indigenous groups in the Lake Champlain basin. However, emerging and legacy contaminants such as PFAS, PCBs, and mercury bioaccumulate in fish tissues, posing risk to anyone who eats fish. This risk is often elevated in subsistence anglers relative to recreational anglers and the general public. Determining exposure risk among angling groups in the Lake Champlain basin is important for informing fish advisories, reducing contaminant exposure to subsistence anglers, and informing ecosystem management.

Researchers will partner with the Vermont Department of Health (DOH), Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Stony Brook University, local angling groups, and community groups working on reducing contaminant exposure in the Lake Champlain basin. Notable outcomes include improved DOH outreach efforts, improved angler knowledge and community health, and development of materials for risk communication. 


Ariana Chiapella
Postdoctoral Associate, University of Vermont
ariana.chiapella [at] uvm.edu

Bindu Panikkar
Assistant Professor, University of Vermont
bindu.panikkar [at] uvm.edu

Resulting Publications