Lake between Vermont and New York, U.S. Located on the states' northern boundaries and extending into Canada about 6 mi (10 km), it is about 125 mi (200 km) long and has an area of 430 sq mi (1,115 sq km). It was visited in 1609 by Samuel de Champlain. In 1776 it was the scene of the first British-American naval battle and in 1814 of a U.S. naval victory over the British. A link in the waterway between New York City's harbour and the lower St. Lawrence River, it is used extensively for commercial and pleasure-boat navigation.
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Lake Champlain (French: lac Champlain) is a natural, freshwater lake in North America, located mainly within the borders of the United States (states of Vermont and New York) but partially situated across the US-Canada border in the Canadian province of Quebec.
Lake Champlain is situated in the Champlain Valley between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondack Mountains of New York, drained northward by the Richelieu River into the St. Lawrence River at Sorel-Tracy, Quebec (northeast of Montreal) and fed by Otter Creek, the Winooski, Missisquoi, and Lamoille Rivers in Vermont, and the Ausable, Chazy, Boquet, and Saranac Rivers in New York. Lake Champlain also receives water from Lake George via the La Chute River.
The oldest reefs are around "The Head" of the south end of the island, slightly younger reefs are found at the Fisk Quarry and the youngest (the famous coral reefs) are located in fields to the north.Together, these three sites provide a unique narrative of events which took place over 450 million years ago in ocean in the Southern Hemisphere, long before the emergence of Lake Champlain - 20 thousand years ago.
Forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point (Fort St. Frederic) controlled passage of the lake in colonial times. Important battles were fought at Ticonderoga in 1758 and 1777. Following a frenetic shipbuilding race through the Spring and Summer of 1776 by the British at the north end of the lake and the Americans at the south end, a significant naval engagement was fought on October 11 at the Battle of Valcour Island, which saw the destruction of the first US Navy vessel to carry the name Enterprise. While the battle was a tactical defeat for the Americans and the small fleet led by Benedict Arnold was almost entirely destroyed, it was a strategic victory. The British invasion was delayed long enough so that the approach of Winter prevented the fall of these forts until the following year, allowing the Continental Army to grow stronger and enabling the later victory at Saratoga.
Following the War of 1812, construction was begun on "Fort Blunder," an unnamed fortification built by the Americans at the northernmost end of Lake Champlain to protect against any further attacks from British Canada. Its nickname came from a surveying error: the initial phase of construction on the fort turned out to be taking place on a point three quarters of a mile north of the Canadian border. Once this error was spotted, construction was abandoned and many of the materials used in the aborted fort were scavenged by locals for use in their own homes and public buildings. The signing of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in 1842 later adjusted the U.S. boundary northward to include the strategically important site of "Fort Blunder." Following this in 1844, work was commenced once again, replacing the remains of the 1812 era fort with a massive new 3rd system masonary fortification known as Fort Montgomery, portions of which still remain today.
In the early 19th century, the construction of the Champlain Canal connected Lake Champlain to the Hudson River system, allowing north-south commerce by water from New York City to Montreal and Atlantic Canada.
Lake Champlain briefly became the nation's sixth Great Lake on March 6, 1998, when President Clinton signed Senate Bill 927. This bill, which reauthorized the National Sea Grant Program, contained a line declaring Lake Champlain to be a Great Lake. Not coincidentally, this status allows neighboring states to apply for additional federal research and education funds allocated to these national resources. Following a small uproar, the Great Lake status was rescinded on March 24 (although Vermont universities continue to receive funds to monitor and study the lake).
One of the more enduring mysteries surrounding Lake Champlain is the legend of Champ. Reminiscent of the Loch Ness monster, Ogopogo and other phenomena of cryptozoology, Champ is purportedly a giant aquatic animal that makes the lake its home. Sightings have been sporadic over time. Regardless, locals and tourists have developed something of a fondness for the creature and its legend and representations of Champ can now be found on tee shirts, coffee mugs, and many other tourist souvenirs. The Vermont Lake Monsters, a minor-league baseball team, have a cartoonish version of Champ as their mascot.
Agricultural and urban runoff from the watershed or drainage basin is the primary source of excess phosphorus which exacerbates algae blooms in Lake Champlain. The most problematic blooms have been cyanobacteria, commonly called blue-green algae, in the northeastern part of the Lake, primarily Missisquoi Bay. In order to reduce phosphorus inputs to this part of the Lake, Vermont and Quebec agreed to reduce their inputs by 60% and 40%, respectively by an agreement signed in 2002. While agricultural sources (manure and fertilizers) are the primary sources of phosphorus (about 70%) in the Missisquoi basin, runoff from developed land and suburbs is estimated to contribute about 46% of the phosphorus runoff basin-wide to Lake Champlain and agricultural lands contributed about 38%.
In 2008, the US Environmental Protection Agency expressed concerns to the State of Vermont that the Lake's cleanup was not progressing fast enough to meet the original cleanup goal of 2016.. The State, however, cites its Clean and Clear Action Plan as a model that will see positive results for Lake Champlain.
Although there are pollution issues, Lake Champlain is safe for swimming, fishing, and boating, and it is considered a world-class fishery for salmonid species (Lake trout and Atlantic salmon) and bass. About 81 fish species live in the Lake and more than 300 bird species rely on it for habitat and as a migration route.
Through history there were four significant railroad crossings over the lake. Currently, only one such crossing remains.
To the north, US 2 runs from Rouses Point, New York to Grand Isle County, Vermont in the town of Alburgh, before continuing south along a chain of islands towards Burlington. To the east, Vermont Route 78 runs from an intersection with US 2 in Alburgh through East Alburgh to Swanton. The US 2-VT 78 route technically runs from the New York mainland to an extension of the mainland between two arms of the lake and then to the Vermont mainland, but it provides a rather direct route across the two main arms of the northern part of the lake.
There is a historic stone lighthouse located on Cumberland Head, which is privately owned.
On Isle La Motte, a recognizable pink lighthouse is located on the northern end.
On Point Au Roche, part of Beekmantown, New York, there is a privately owned, historic lighthouse.
Valcour Island, near the New York shore is home to Bluff Point Lighthouse, built in 1871. It was manned by a full time lightkeeper until 1930, making it one of the last lighthouses to be manned on the Lake.