Fifty years ago, the U.S. Congress passed the Clean Water Act. This landmark legislation has been critical in protecting and restoring the Lake Champlain Basin’s water quality, fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, recreation, and cultural resources.
To recognize the Act’s importance, the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership (CVNHP) and the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) have spearheaded a commemoration of the anniversary with a variety of events, activities, and publications in 2022.
The center piece of this commemoration is a set of six traveling displays that interpret the Act and its significance. The CVNHP exhibit traveled throughout the Champlain Valley this summer and was on display at Mount Independence State Historic until the site closed for the season.
The exhibits, which are available to municipalities and organizations to host through the end of the year, explain the history, accomplishments, and challenges still to be addressed by the Clean Water Act. Visitors can win a commemorative coin by answering a short challenge quest quiz.
The LCBP also held the Patrick Leahy Lake Champlain Basin Photo Contest to commemorate the anniversary and recognize Senator Leahy’s longstanding commitment to the Lake. The LCBP received 120 entries to the contest and awarded seven prizes.
The CVNHP supported several other efforts to interpret the lasting impacts of the Clean Water Act in the Lake Champlain Basin and its interconnected waterways:
- An updated “Called by the Water” display at the Lake George Historical Association Museum.
- “The Clean Water Act at 50” exhibit at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum.
- Adirondack Water Week events hosted by Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute.
- New and updated interpretive signage along the LaChute River in Ticonderoga, the waterways of Cambridge, NY, and along the Richelieu River in Beloeil, Quebec.
New research supported by the CVNHP will continue to document the Clean Water Act’s legacy. The Center for the Study of Canada and Institute on Québec Studies at SUNY-Plattsburgh will publish a book on the Act’s origins, implementation, and impacts, federal, state, and provincial regulatory and institutional policy developments, and case studies of conservation and community engagement.
The projects commemorating the Clean Water Act 50th anniversary were supported with funds awarded to NEIWPCC on behalf of the CVNHP and LCBP by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. National Park Service, and Great Lakes Fishery Commission.
Organizations and municipalities interested in hosting the interpretive displays should contact LCBP Education and Outreach Steward Sue Hagar at (802) 372-0214 or email@example.com. Learn more about the Clean Water Act commemoration online.
Photo of Lake Champlain bridge provided by Erica Remington.