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North Country News

Report Shows Reductions of Mercury and PCB’s in Lake Champlain

A report prepared for the Lake Champlain Basin Program has found encouraging drops in mercury and PCB contamination in the lake.

Both New York and Vermont have mercury advisories cautioning individuals as to the amount of fish from Lake Champlain that is safe to eat on a monthly basis. In 1994, a remediation project removed PCB’s from lake sediment near Wilcox Dock in Plattsburgh. The study commissioned by the Lake Champlain Basin Program assesses current levels of the two chemicals in various species fish in the lake.  The assessment of mercury and a reevaluation of PCB’s in Lake Champlain fish found a reduction of the compounds in the species studied.  Biodiversity Research Institute Associate Wildlife Biologist Ian Johnson is the report’s primary author.

Lake Champlain Basin Program Technical Coordinator and oversight administrator for the project Eric Howe calls the findings significant.

Ian Johnson characterizes the results as encouraging.

Lake Champlain Lakekeeper Louis Porter says while the report indicates progress, mercury and PCB levels are still too high.

Researchers worked with Lake Champlain International to take samples from fish caught during a lake-wide fishing tournament.