How does stormwater runoff affect the health of the lake?

Stormwater runoff brings pollutants, dirt, and chemicals into streams, rivers, and lakes. Over time, this affects the entire ecosystem, including plants and animals that live in Lake Champlain.

What animals are affected by stormwater runoff?

The Endangered Black Tern

The Endangered Spiny Softshell Turtle

The Brook Trout
Vermont’s State Fish

Learn more about how you can help keep Lake Champlain clean!

Our seasonal newsletter is packed with tips to reduce stormwater runoff, as well as upcoming events around the area dedicated to keeping Lake Champlain clean. Don’t worry, we’ll never share your information either.

But how does that affect the animals that live around the lake?

It’s a little complicated, but we can help explain it.

The chemicals and sediment that stormwater runoff carries into our streams, lakes and rivers affect some of the smallest creatures.

Scientifcally speaking,  they’re called water-based invertebrates, but you know them better as stoneflies, mayflies, and other insects that live in the water (don’t worry, most of them don’t bite or sting).

These smaller water-based invertebrates are a primary food source for many of the animals that you see: fish, frogs, and smaller birds. Without them, the animals would have nothing to eat.

As you can imagine, this affects the entire food chain, if smaller animals don’t have food to eat, they disappear, affecting the larger animals that depend on them for food.

As more and more animals are affected, the ecosystem as a whole is affected.

So how can I help?

Small home improvement projects like installing a rain barrel or planting a rain garden are an easy first step. Even daily steps, like picking up your dog’s poop (even on trails on in the woods) helps to reduce the amount of chemicals and other materials carried by stormwater runoff into our streams, lakes, and rivers.

About Rethink Runoff

Rethink Runoff, a program managed by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC),  is an ongoing awareness and public outreach effort to reduce dirt and pollutants in stormwater runoff in the Lake Champlain Basin.

Learn more about what we do…