The Vermont Dept of Environments Conservation has identified major lake stressors. They include:

  • Acidity – caused primarily by atmospheric deposition of nitrogen and sulfur compounds (acid rain)

  • Erosion – excessive channel and land erosion is brought about by human activities that alter runoff patterns and deliver sediment and nutrients to the lakes

  • Flow Alteration – altering the natural flow of streams or lake levels affects the extent of habitats, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, and concentrations of toxins in aquatic organisms

  • Encroachment – placement of structures upon the lakeshores result in the loss of buffer zones, increasing sunlight penetration, reducing habitat quality and quantity, and poor ecological integrity

  • Invasive Species – out-compete native plants, algae, and animals resulting in reduced recreational opportunities and altered ecosystem

  • Nutriend Loading – septic systems and fertilizer usage deliver nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen causing increased likelihood of toxic algae growth

  • Pathogens – fecal contamination may result from poorly maintained septic systems, pet waste, and natural sources and cause gastrointestinal distress when exposed to swimmers

  • Phosphorus – increases in phosphorus can lead to problematic changes in freshwater lakes such as increased algae and a subsequent loss of deepwater oxygen

  • Toxic Substances – several categories including mercury, PCBs, heavy metals, pharmaceutical degrades, and personal care products have consequential impacts to aquatic life

  • Thermal Stress – excess warming occurs as a result of reduced lakeshore vegetation and climate change impacting aquatic species

For additional information visit the Vermont Watershed Management site.