US grant of $20 million will study Lake Champlain resiliency

Scientists from a number of Vermont colleges and universities will be using a $20 million federal grant to study what makes some sections of the Lake Champlain watershed bounce back faster than others after extreme weather, officials announced Monday.

The five-year grant from the National Science Foundation is one of the largest ever received for the study of Lake Champlain.

The money will be used to support research teams from the University of Vermont and other colleges across the state and New Hampshire to collect data from sensors in streams, soil and the and to gather information about adjacent land use.

A computer model will integrate the information, and the results will be used to look for ways to preserve infrastructure, environmental health and drinking water quality in the event of intense storms.

"We'll essentially be giving managers a tool that will help them build resiliency in areas that have been vulnerable in the past," said Judith Van Houten, a University of Vermont professor who is directing the research.

In addition to UVM, other groups that will be participating include Johnson State College, Lyndon State College, Castleton University, Middlebury College, Saint Michael's College, Dartmouth College and the Community College of Vermont. The Lake Champlain Basin Program will be participating along with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and groups from Quebec and Lake George, New York.

The award will also offer research opportunities to students from Vermont high schools and middle schools and undergraduates across the state.

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