(Host) Vermont and New York are beefing up their efforts to restore and protect water quality in Lake Champlain.
Governor Jim Douglas attended a signing ceremony this afternoon in Grand Isle for an updated work plan aimed at reducing pollution in the lake.
The governor was joined by representatives from New York State and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Bill Howland is the manager of the Lake Champlain Basin Program, which produced the plan as a partnership that includes Vermont, New York, and Quebec.
His organization considers the updated plan to be a milestone achievement.
(Howland) "It’s not intended to be a regulatory document, but it does provide an unprecedented level of cooperation between governments and non-profit organizations, university scientists and citizens throughout the basin."
(Host) The plan, which is called "Opportunities for Action", was first produced in 1996, and last updated in 2003.
Howland says key goals remain, which include reducing phosphorous and contaminants going into the lake, maintaining fish and wildlife, and limiting the impact of non-native species.
(Howland) "But we’ve added some very specific goals concerning increasing our education and outreach efforts so that more people will understand the nature of this issue and what they can do at home to change their behaviors a little bit and help reduce the pollution that life causes."
(Host) Other goals include expanding cultural heritage programs and taking a closer look at the economic impact of cleaning up the lake.
Howland says that because the plan is Web-based, it can also be used as a tool for accountability.
Once it goes online in December, the public will be able to track progress and monitor specific project updates.