Get Educated

Learning about stormwater and its effects on our rivers, streams, and lakes is the first step to minimizing the pollutants we drink and swim in.

By identifying and understanding how some of our everyday actions can contribute to stormwater runoff and making small changes to how we perform these tasks, we can help prevent water pollution in our communities.

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Each seasonal issue is packed with things to you do to help keep Lake Champlain clean, and we’ll never share your information.

Here are a few things you can do…

Plant a Rain Garden

A rain garden allows the rain water to pool for a short period of time in the garden. As rain from rooftop areas or paved areas soaks into the ground,  the water is cleaned by the plants and the soil microbes in the soil.

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Install a Rain Barrel

One easy way to help protect lakes, rivers is to redirect your roof gutters and downspouts away from hard surfaces such as your driveway andcollect the rainwater in mosquito-proof containers known as rain barrels.

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Plant a Tree

One simple way to improve your stormwater footprint is to plant a tree. Trees absorb water and hold soil in place while also providing food and shelter for wildlife.

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Redirect Your Downspouts

To ensure that stormwater is running into proper drainage areas, check that your downspouts are directed away from your home’s foundation and into grass or a garden.

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Here are a few others things to avoid…

Reduce Fertilizer Use

Most lawns and gardens in Vermont do not need fertilizer. So when you fertilize without needing to, you actually help things grow in the lake instead of in your lawn or garden.

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Pick Up Your Pet Waste

Pet waste can be a major source of bacteria and excess nutrients in local waters. This can cause harm to people and result in beach closures.

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Practice Eco-friendly Car Care

Did you know it’s actually better to use a commercial car wash to prevent oil and grease, and other toxics from washing into our storm drains and enter Lake Champlain UNTREATED!
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Reduce Salt Use in Winter

Using road salt in the winter months can contribute to water pollution in Vermont’s lakes, rivers and streams.

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About Algae Blooms

Cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, are photosynthetic bacteria that occur naturally in waters used for recreation, such as swimming and waterskiing.

Certain environmental conditions, such as elevated levels of nutrients, warmer temperatures, still water, and plentiful sunlight can promote the growth of cyanobacteria to higher densities, forming algae blooms. 
Learn more about algae blooms and what you can do to help prevent them.

For Kids

We’ve included science experiments that are easy and simple to do with your children that highlight the impact of stormwater runoff and how it can affect the lake.

Other Information

Reading List

Are you interested in learning more? We’ve compiled a reading list in collaboration with the Lake Champlain Basin Program Resource Library, including both Adult and Children’s titles that cover watersheds, wetlands and the wildlife that make up the Lake Champlain basin.

Blue® – Salix Solutions

BLUE® is an innovative program that certifies homes, businesses, and institutions as watershed friendly. Evaluators educate and collaborate with property owners to identify opportunities for stormwater mitigation, affect behavioral changes, and establish stewardship principles to protect our waters. Perhaps you could use a rain barrel or rain garden, perhaps a water trench or French drain. Find out how you can make a difference by mitigating stormwater runoff before it leaves your land.

Learn more about BLUE® here.

Other Links

Tips for Rural Homeowners
Even if your home is located in a rural area it can have impacts on downstream water bodies like Lake Champlain.

Glossary: What is a watershed? What is an outfall? Learn the terms associated with stormwater runoff and you’ll be the most interesting person in your neighborhood!

The UVM Watershed Alliance supports state-wide watershed education and water quality monitoring in Vermont middle schools, secondary schools, alternative education programs, and youth groups.


Head on over to Stormville, our interactive learning adventure, to see all the things around your house that affect stormwater runoff.