VERMONT (NEWS10) — The Agency of Natural Resources connects better water quality to better public funding in the past four years in its annual report. The positive environmental impacts of public investment on water quality represent a win for conservation activists by linking public spending to improved environmental conditions.
“This ongoing work is critical in both protecting our environment and strengthening our outdoor recreation and tourism industries,” said Gov. Phil Scott. Public efforts to clean up water sources and expand treatment programs support public health and safety, flood resilience, fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation, and the natural landscape.
The 2019 performance report report from the Clean Water Initiative details the effects of $138 million spent on 28,000 acres of agricultural lands, 169 miles of municipal roads, and 222 acres of hard surfaces like pavement which helped conserve or restore almost 2,000 acres of river corridors, floodplains, lakeshores, forests, and wetlands.
One section in the report focuses on reducing Lake Champlain’s phosphorus pollution, which contributes to algal blooms that pose safety risks to people and wildlife while limiting recreational use. New government funding and regulations kept over 16 metric tons of phosphorus out of the lake last year.
Besides highlighting the added stewardship and financial contributions from the state and its workforce, the report also addresses land use and climate change concerns.