BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — As Vermont works to reduce algae-causing phosphorus runoff into Lake Champlain as mandated by the federal government, funding is going toward a study to look at how conservation efforts by farmers are working to improve water quality.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy on Tuesday announced nearly $2 million in federal funding for the first three years of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service study.

The long-range study with help from the University of Vermont Extension will look at two watersheds: the Dead Creek and the headwaters of the Little Otter Creek, which are in farm-rich Addison County.

Officials estimate that about 38 percent of the phosphorus load in the lake comes from agricultural land.

Leahy said Vermont farmers are innovative, creative and deeply committed to conservation.

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