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Welcome to the
Lakes & Ponds Management and Protection Program

The Lakes & Ponds Management and Protection Program works to protect and restore the health of Vermont lakes, and the public uses that healthy lake ecosystems provide, through outreach and education, assessment and monitoring, and regulatory programs.  Specific program areas and resources include:


With more than 800 lakes and ponds throughout the state, volunteers have played a critical role in supporting and achieving our mission.  These citizen scientists actively contribute to our understanding of lake health.  They are our eyes on the water, surveying for new infestations of aquatic invasive species or watching for potentially hazardous cyanobacteria blooms.  They’ve helped establish baseline conditions for eutrophication in Vermont lakes and tracked long-term changes in nutrient enrichment.  They are also helping us to better understand climate trends by recording and sharing their ice in and ice out dates.  Thank you to our lake volunteers – past, present, and future!

Below is a brief summary of our volunteer monitoring programs.  For more information or to get involved, contact Bethany Sargent, Lakes and Ponds Volunteer Monitoring Coordinator.


Lay Monitor

The Vermont Lay Monitoring Program is one of the oldest volunteer lake monitoring programs in the country.  Since it began in 1979, volunteers or Lay Monitors have tracked long-term nutrient enrichment in more than 90 lakes statewide. 


Vermont Invasive Patrollers provide a vital line of defense against harmful invasive species that can threaten the ecology and recreational potential of our lakes and rivers. VIPs learn to identify aquatic invasive plants and animals, and conduct systematic surveys for aquatic invaders like Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels. 

Ice out

Lake residents and users have been tracking Ice Out (and Ice In) for decades. Over the last few years, scientists with the Lakes and Ponds Program and Air Quality and Climate Division have been soliciting and analyzing these annual records to better understand and predict trends in statewide climate conditions.

In addition, the Lakes and Ponds program supports volunteer monitoring efforts of our partners.


Cyanobacteria or blue green algae blooms can produce toxins harmful to humans and other animals.  Volunteers, recruited and trained by the Lake Champlain Committee, visually monitor for cyanobacteria at more than 50 locations on Lake Champlain.  In addition, the Vermont Department of Health oversees monitoring at four inland lakes.  Lakes and Ponds staff provides technical support for both of these monitoring efforts.


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VT DEC Watershed Management Division 1 National Life Drive, Main 2  Montpelier, VT  05620-3522  Tele: 802-828-1535   Fax: 802-828-1544


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