Lake Champlain Ecosystem

Human Impact on the Ecosystem

[pullquote]For thousands of years the Lake Champlain Basin has experienced dramatic changes in its ecosystem. Less than 15,000 years ago much of the Adirondacks and Green Mountains were covered by ice over a mile thick.[/pullquote]

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From a geological standpoint, our current natural ecosystems in this region are relatively young. Although the changes of the last 15,000 years have dramatically shaped the ecosystems of our area, the effects of global climate change over the past fifty years cannot be dismissed. Greenhouse gases associated with fossil fuel use account for much of this change.

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Lake Champlain Ecosystem

Lake Champlain Basin Program
State of the Lake 2012
(Click on Image to view report)

Other human changes to the ecosystem include the effects of increased development and building. Some of these effects include increased runoff from paved surfaces unable to absorb rainfall, increased water usage, release of sewage, pollutants and other garbage into the environment.

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Animals and plants have moved from one ecosystem into another since the dawn of time, but, due to human intervention, the migration of invasive species into Lake Champlain has accelerated drastically. Plants and fish native to areas half a world away are finding their way to the Champlain Valley and taking root here. Their lack of predators and their aggressive nature creates a situation where local native species cannot compete for the available resources, and decline or disappear.

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[pullquote]About 10,000 years ago, the Champlain Valley held a salt-water arm of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of St. Lawrence called the Champlain Sea.[/pullquote]

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Learn more about Lake Champlain’s ecosystem:

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  1. [...] Vermont to Preserve Lake Champlain Marsh [...]

  2. [...] Vt. seeks to preserve Lake Champlain marsh (LakeChamplainLife.com) [...]

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