The 6th Great Lake
Senate Bill 927 which reauthorizes the Sea Grant Program was signed by
The President of The
United States on March 6th, 1998 making Lake Champlain the 6th Great Lake.
Lake Champlain on March 5th, 1998 became recognized as the Nation's Sixth Great Lake, with the signing, by President Clinton, of Senate Bill Number 927. The bill itself re-authorizes the Sea Grant Program (to study the environmental issues concerning the Great Lakes), but with a line item entered by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, the Bill makes Lake Champlain one of The Great Lakes. The newly aquired status allows Vermont Colleges (as well as other neighboring institutions) greater elegibility to apply for Federal Grants to study the Lake's ecological and historical impacts.
This development adds Lake Champlain to the ranks of Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, Lake Superior and Lake Huron all of which have long been recognized as The Great Lakes.
The move has raised the ire of many Great Lakes organizations since they feel that the newest candidate for funding will dilute the available resources (grant monies) given to institutions with Lakes Studies Programs already in place.
Also at issue, is the relatively diminuative size of Lake Champlain in comparison to the other Great Lakes.
Lake Champlain is actually a very large lake (though not quite so when compared to the other Great Lakes) spanning 110 miles in length and 12 miles in width. It's surface area pales in comparison to the other Lakes in this Category.
LAKE CHAMPLAIN: 435 Square Miles of surface
LAKE SUPERIOR (world's second largest lake):31,700 Sq.Miles
LAKE HURON: 23,000 Sq.Miles
LAKE MICHIGAN: 22,300 Sq.Miles
LAKE ERIE: 9,910 Sq.Miles
LAKE ONTARIO: 7,340 Sq.Miles
Lake Champlain lies along the Richelieu River (its waters flowing south to north) and connects with The Saint Lawrence River. The Lake and River lie between the Adirondack Mountains of New York and The Green Mountains of Vermont.
Vermont's four principle rivers all flow into Lake Champlain. They are Otter Creek, Lamoille, Missisquoi, and Winooski.
The Lake also has approx. 80 islands.
Connected nautically to the other Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway, Lake Champlain has not been regarded previously as being part of the Great Lakes Basin, and instead, was thought of as the main water body of the Quebec / Champlain Basin. Now, with it's new status as a Great Lake, Lake Champlain must be considered a part of that formerly elite group.
Lake Champlain, like the other Great Lakes, was formed by the withdrawal of glaciers which existed over the area during the North American Ice Age.
Like the Loch Ness in Scotland, Lake Champlain reportedly (by some) has it's own denizen of the deep. While not called a "monster" like the Loch Ness Monster, Lake Champlain is believed (by some) to be the home of "Champie" a creature fondly described (by some) as being of monstrous proportions. Like the Loch Ness Monster, "Champie" has been sighted by very few mariners that fish and enjoy the lake. Still, his reported existance has added a lore to the Lake which it otherwise might not enjoy.
How the naming of Lake Champlain to the ranks of The Great Lakes will be recognized by historians in the future remains a question mark.It's immediate impact will of course be felt by the Universities of Vermont, those most responsible for prompting Senator Leahy's proposal.
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