Lake Champlain algae drives down property values

29 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Algae drives down property values on Lake Champlain.

GEORGIA, Vt. (AP) — The two cottages on the shore of Lake Champlain will someday be passed down to her children but Enid Letourneau worries the algae that turns the shoreline pea-soup green each August means they won’t amount to much of an inheritance. “Would you go swimming in that? The algae, which can be toxic to humans and dogs, prompted the town of Georgia to reduce the property values $50,000 each on 34 mostly summer camps on St. Albans Town docked the values of some other lakefront homes — but she’s not happy about it. “I was kind of looking forward to being able to leave something for my children,” she said. “Maybe they’ll clean it up but I don’t have a lot of hope.” The toxic algae blooms that kill aquatic life and degrade the water quality on the lake have grown, fed by phosphorus-laden runoff of rain and snowmelt from farms, roads and parking lots and discharges from municipal wastewater treatment plants. Environmental Protection Agency this month set a new pollution reduction goal for the Vermont side of the Lake Champlain and state officials said they were already working on long-term plans to meet those goals by keeping pollutants from rivers and streams that feed the lake. EPA scientists have been working with state counterparts for years on the best way to reduce phosphorous runoff into the lake that has been increasing despite decades of efforts and tens of millions of dollars spent.

Owners of other properties, mostly seasonal camps ranging in price from $77,000 to around $221,000, said they’ll take the tax break and deal with the algae as necessary. The lost tax revenue — about $8,000 — “is not going to make us or break us” because of other property valuations and a tax increase, said Assistant Select Board Chairman Matt Crawford.

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