Burlington, the “Queen City” lays claim to one of the most pristine bodies of water in the country, Lake Champlain. Located to our west where the mountains meet the water, is one of, if not the most attractive locations the city has to offer. Further, not only does this lake provide an exquisite view for its residence, sunsets are known to draw tourists from around the world to try and capture their beauty. In recent years, however, issues have been stemming above and below the surface that are having detrimental effects to not only aquatic life, but also the local population.

Secci Disk, used to measure water clarity

On daily basis, local residence of Lake Champlain have the privilege to lay their eyes on some of the million-dollar views the lake has to offer. What actually is occurring down on the waterfront, however, is more than what meets the eye. With continual run off from Vermont’s largest city that drains directly into the lake from both point and non-point sources, problems have begun to surmount for this prime piece of real estate (VTANR, 2004). Phosphorus, when acquired in large amounts stimulates the growth of algae, which in turn creates a green murky substance that floats on top of the water creating an eye sore (VTANR, 2004). This substance has caused such an effect on the aesthetic qualities of the lake, significantly effecting recreation and tourism. As reported by the Waterwheel Foundation (2008), tourism from the lake provides an estimated $1 billion based on the appearance of a clean lake, as well as the up keep of it’s immediate landscape. Moreover, with the rapid increase of these blooms, that number has the potential to drop significantly.

Blue-Green Algae on Lake Champlain

In addition to economic stimulus, the lake has been proven to provide an increase in the overall mental well being of those in the immediate area, as well to travelers who take the time to enjoy the lake’s essence. Having a body of water to provide such outstanding aesthetic views from it’s radiant sunsets to local beach hot spots adds a sense of increased experience to a person’s life when they get to capture one of the many gifts the lake has to offer (Nature and Ecology of Aesthetic Appearance, 1990).Correspondingly, Burlington in past years has been rated the number two “happiest city to live” (Burlington Vermont Homes, 2009), the lake, obviously being one of the benefactors in winning that award. With the accumulation of these blooms and other unattractive results from pollutant run off, these numbers can also be expected to fall.

In these up and coming years, the immediate locale of the lake will have to address these presented issues and more. Although many of the effects to the aesthetic quality of the lake are of local concern to the city of Burlington, the entire Lake Champlain Basin area will have to tackle these issues as well. New York, Canada, and Vermont all touch this body of water and rightfully so must take responsibility to implement strict regulations to address these issues in an attempt to contain these problems. The beauty of Lake Champlain, a sight we often take for granted, is something that must be preserved for the enjoyment of current and future generations to come.

Sources Cited

Burlington Vermont Homes. (2010). Accolades and Awards. Retrieved on April 19, 2010, from http://www.burlingtonvermonthomes.com/positions.htm.

Chenoweth, Richard E. and Gobster, Paul H. “Landscape Journal” (1990) The Nature and Ecology of Aesthetic Experiences in the Landscape. Retrieved on April 8, 2010 from http://nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/jrnl/1990/nc_1990_chenoweth_001.pdf.

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. (2004). Lake Champlain Phosphorus TMDL. Retrieved on Apri l 18, 2010, from http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/waterq/lakes/htm/l p_phosphorus.htm.

Waterwheel Foundation.  (2008).  Lake Champlain Initiative. Retrieved on May 3, 2010, from http://www.phish.com/waterwheel/champlain.php.

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