On March 15, the Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative – a working group of fisheries professionals from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – announced the decision to further reduce the number of stocked lake trout released annually. This decision was prompted by the continued increase in natural reproduction and the documentation of multiple age classes of wild fish.
A stocking program was established in the 1950s to restore lake trout in Lake Champlain following the loss of native populations due to water quality and habitat changes. Although the lake was stocked with 82,000 fin clipped fish annually, there is little evidence of successful natural reproduction during the first 60 years of this program.
Clean Water Act turns 50
Fifty years ago this week, federal lawmakers overrode a presidential veto to enact the Clean Water Act, a landmark law for the nation’s water quality.
The iconic image of the Cuyahoga River on fire in Ohio spurred congressional action and ushered in a half century of major river restorations across the nation. The goals outlined in the act included restoring the country’s water to a “fishable and swimmable” state.
The law imposed new permitting requirements on polluting industries and sewage treatment plants, but it failed to address diffuse pollution from storm and agricultural runoff, the largest source of pollution in many parts of the country. The standards adopted under the law in many places are now decades old or unable to address emerging problems.
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