Waterways across Vermont will see improvements in 2015 thanks to Vermont’s Watershed
Grant Program, which has awarded grant funds to fifteen watershed improvement projects totaling $100,000. Successful applicants each received individual grants ranging from $3,500 to $14,000.
The 2015 projects cover a range of water quality and aquatic habitat projects, including these examples in three categories:
* Restoration and clean-up efforts in the White River drainage basin (White River Partnership),
* Helping to remove a dam on the upper Wells River (CT River Watershed Council), and
* Replacement of culverts in Northfield and Duxbury to enable fish to pass and reduce flood failure risk (Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District and Friends of the Winooski)
* Expanding the effectiveness of lake protection strategies (Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds).
* Explain river dynamics using a flume (Windham County Natural Resources Conservation District), and
* Milfoil spread prevention (Town of Charleston and Westmore Association).
* Re-examining years of previously collected water quality data to guide water quality protection actions for the future (Friends of the Mad River), and
* Walloomsac Headwaters Park Management Plan (Bennington County Natural Resources Conservation District).
“Although these grants are relatively small, much is accomplished and the increased public awareness should pay benefits into the future,” said Rod Wentworth of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “We’re glad to provide a funding option for what I like to think of as little grants with big results.”
David Mears, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, agreed. “These grants illustrate the importance of providing tools to local communities and their partners for protecting waterways and aquatic habitats in their locales. By building on small success such as these, we make a difference in protecting clean water statewide.”
The Vermont Watershed Grants fund was established by the legislature and is funded from half the proceeds from sale of the Vermont Conservation License Plate. The other half of the proceeds go to the Nongame and Natural Heritage Program. The Departments of Environmental Conservation and Fish and Wildlife co-administer the Watershed Grants program, which has been underway since 1998 and has thus far provided close to $1.5 million to fund close to 350 projects.
“When Vermonters purchase a Conservation License Plate – now available as three choices – they’re helping to protect clean water as well as conserving wildlife and important habitats for future generations,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. “You can support conservation and the watershed grant program by purchasing either a deer, a loon or a brook trout conservation license plate.”
The conservation license plate application can be found online by searching “vt conservation plate” or directly here: http://dmv.vermont.gov/sites/dmv/files/pdf/DMV-VD154-Conservation_Plate_App.pdf