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GLIN==> Lake Champlain Work Helps Great Lakes

Title: Lake Champlain Work Helps Great Lakes
For Release: Friday, December 8, 2000      
For More Information: David White, NY Sea Grant Great Lakes Program Coordinator, 315-341-3042
                                     Mark Malchoff, Aquatic Resources Specialist, 518-564-3038

As the nation's first Sea Grant Extension Project effort focusing entirely on a single lake basin, Sea Grant's Lake Champlain program is addressing issues of interest to fisheries and watershed managers across the Great Lakes region.

"Many of Lake Champlain's issues are similar to those faced by the Great Lakes, so the research and education work this young initiative is doing has widespread significance," says David White, Great Lakes program coordinator for New York Sea Grant.

Preventing Spread of Nuisance Species on Sea Grant's 2001 Agenda
Aquatic nuisance species, fisheries, hydroacoustic surveying, and threats to water quality are on the one-year-old Extension Project's research, education, and outreach agenda for 2001. A National Sea Grant College Program grant is funding efforts to collect, update and dispense educational materials on methods for preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species from Lake Champlain to nearby waters, including Lake Ontario.

"Some nuisances are microscopic and cannot be seen as they travel in bait buckets and on boat hulls. Others, such as the aquatic plant, Eurasian watermilfoil, are visible, but are often ignored by boaters trailering their vessels from one lake to the next. Surveys show recreational boaters and anglers will comply with control programs once they are aware there is a problem and become aware of methods for proper cleaning and draining of equipment," Lake Champlain Sea Grant Aquatic Resources Specialist Mark Malchoff says.

Lake Champlain Sea Grant's spring 2001 workshop on hydroacoustic technology will help biologists studying smelt populations in several lakes, including Lake Ontario.

"Many large lakes have two or more important forage fish species which complicates the use of hydroacoustics to gather data on a single population. Because there are no significant populations of alewives in Lake Champlain yet, scientists anticipate that they will able to use echosounders to sample smelt for estimations of the numbers and ages of fish much more easily in Lake Champlain. Smelt form the dietary foundation for lake trout and landlocked Atlantic salmon. The data gathered on smelt will help fisheries managers adjust trout and salmon stocking levels so the fish don't eat themselves out of house and home," Mr. Malchoff says.

Federal Legislators Recognize Lake Champlain Sea Grant Contributions
Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy is credited with propelling Lake Champlain into the national spotlight. His efforts helped secure $427,000 in funding for a Lake Champlain Sea Grant Extension Project through the National Sea Grant College Program Reauthorization Act, amended in March 1998 to include Lake Champlain. Nearly $250,000 in monies, and in-kind services, from New York Sea Grant, Cornell University, SUNY-Plattsburgh, and the University of Vermont are also providing support for work through February 2002.

Congressman John McHugh of New York recently added his good wishes as the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Extension Project celebrates its first year of activities. "Lake Champlain Sea Grant is making an important contribution to the understanding of one of North America's most important and precious natural resources.  Lake Champlain and its surrounding watershed are facing a host of difficult and complex challenges.  Sea Grant's work represents an attempt to bring coordination to efforts to address these varied problems and threats.  The information gathered and the lessons learned will undoubtedly have far-reaching consequences, not only to the future of Lake Champlain, but potentially to the other Great Lakes as well."
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