BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Vermont Natural Resources Secretary George Crombie on Thursday appointed the state's first "lake czar," who will oversee the cleanup of Lake Champlain.



The appointment of Julia Moore, who had been working as a regulatory analyst at ANR, came as Crombie attended the annual meeting of the Friends of Missisquoi Bay. At the meeting, he outlined plans to focus cleanup efforts on northern reaches of the lake where summer algae blooms can turn bays into a toxic algae soup.



Crombie and Gov. Jim Douglas, meanwhile, announced $46,000 in grants to organizations that come up with plans to clean the northern part of the lake by reducing or removing sources of "non-point" pollution — runoff from city and suburban streets, yards and farms.



"We really need a program around the northern lake, specifically that part of the lake," Crombie said. "I think by zeroing in and building a team that works full time on the northern lake we will really be able to come up with solutions."



Moore will report directly to Crombie, and will oversee the new Center for Clean and Clear, designed to create a "formal, unified approach to Lake Champlain pollution" between ANR and the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, said a statement issued by Crombie's office.



The Clean and Clear team also will include officials from the University of Vermont, federal farm agencies and the University of Vermont Extension.



The team is being asked to quantify the sources of algae-feeding phosphorus pollution and determine which ones offer the biggest payoff when cleanup dollars are spent.



Some lake advocates say they're frustrated because they feel the Clean and Clear program doesn't provide adequate funding for their area of Lake Champlain.



Missisquoi Bay, the northeast arm of Lake Champlain much of which is in Canada, is perhaps the biggest cleanup challenge, because it is shallow and drains phosphorus-rich farmland in northern Vermont and Quebec.

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