Late last evening, the House of Representatives approved a bipartisan amendment authored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to appropriate $8.4 million in fiscal year 2019 for the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP). The House Appropriations Committee had recommended a funding level of just $4.4 million.
"Lake Champlain is one of the natural wonders of New England and an international treasure, with a watershed that includes Vermont, New York, and the province of Quebec," said Rep. Welch. "It is central to our cultural heritage and natural history, and an invaluable recreational and economic resource. These funds will help ensure that the Lake Champlain Basin Program continues its mission of protecting and preserving this great lake for generations to come."
"The Lake Champlain Basin Program is critical to protecting this North Country treasure from invasive species, to protecting its biodiversity, and to strengthening the local economy," said Rep. Stefanik. "In my lifetime, I have watched the detrimental effects that zebra mussels have had as they migrated into the waters of Lake Champlain. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Invasive Species Caucus, I was pleased to work on this amendment to ensure this program received the full funding necessary to protect Lake Champlain. I thank Congressman Welch for his leadership on this bipartisan effort."
The Lake Champlain Basin Program was created in 1990 under the Lake Champlain Special Designation Act authored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and the late Senator James Jeffords (R-Vt.). The program is a regional collaboration between Vermont, New York, and the province of Quebec to restore and protect Lake Champlain and its surrounding watershed. LCBP provides technical resources and grants to private organizations, local communities, and individuals to support efforts that benefit Lake Champlain's water quality, fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, recreation, and cultural resources.