In an unusual Saturday announcement, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designated Lake Champlain cyanobacteria an endangered species.
The decision comes as a result of a petition filed by a new regional environmental organization made up of a broad-based coalition of farmers, developers and municipal officials. Their concerns come as long-term projections based on anticipated changes in policy around stormwater and wastewater runoff and agricultural practices suggest hard times ahead for native cyanobacteria, known colloquially as blue-green algae.
In the announcement, an EPA spokesperson noted the potentially catastrophic threats to cyanobacteria habitat in coming years. “Policymakers have been discussing wholesale changes to stormwater and agricultural runoff policy with wanton disregard to the potentially devastating impact on this local species. Although today’s EPA is strongly against regulation, we feel that this situation cannot be ignored.”
The Agency indicated it would be mandating a policy of sustained, targeted increases in crop fertilization and untreated municipal sewage dumps until such time that authorities deem the cyanobacteria population is found to be robust and stable.