Here in Vermont, solar power is among the fastest growing form of renewable energy. In-state incentives and streamlined processes have encouraged renewable energy production throughout the state, helping to attract a number of new solar developers. In regards to climate change and adaptation, solar energy development is an exciting form of sustainable energy that holds a lot of potential; but it is essential to keep in mind through the development process the importance of protecting Vermont’s natural resources, including wetlands. Wetlands help reduce climate change issues by providing flood resilience, natural carbon storage and other functions.
The Wetlands Program has created an easy-to-read brochure for solar developers and interested landowners on how projects can follow the Vermont Wetland Rules and stay wetland-friendly. The brochure includes a step-by-step process of how to screen sites for wetlands in order to avoid them, information on State protected wetlands, and why avoidance of wetlands is important. The brochure also provides the link to Vermont’s Significant Wetland Inventory Map (http://anrmaps.vermont.gov/websites/WetlandProjects/default.html) which may be used as an early screening tool when selecting a site. The Wetlands Program frequently provides technical guidance to developers with the goal of protecting the functions and values of wetlands, and much of this guidance has been and will continue to be provided to solar developers as well. Let’s keep Vermont green while building a sustainable future!
A link to the Solar Brochure on the Wetlands Program website can be found here: http://www.watershedmanagement.vt.gov/wetlands/docs/Solar%20Wetland%20Brochure%202015.pdf