Applications are available for the 2014 Vermont Watershed Grants Program to fund projects that help Vermonters protect, restore and enjoy the state's watersheds. Applications are due to the Vermont Watershed Grants office by Friday, November 22.
"Watershed grants are available to municipalities, local or regional governmental agencies, non-profit organizations, and water-related citizen groups," said Rick Hopkins of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VTDEC). "Watershed grants can be awarded for many types of watershed projects, including those that protect or restore water quality, shorelines or fish and wildlife habitats."
“In light of the damage and lessons learned from Tropical Storm Irene and other recent Vermont floods, plus our ongoing efforts to better manage runoff containing nutrients and sediment, we are very interested in projects that implement practical measures or involve education affecting stream habitat protection, restoration, flood resiliency and related topics," added Hopkins.
Rod Wentworth, of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, explained that watershed grants provide a way for local people to make a difference. "This program, now in its 16th year, is a great opportunity for sporting clubs or watershed groups to undertake a project to help their local stream or lake, such as planting trees or developing a watershed conservation plan or outreach program," said Wentworth. “Many Vermont rivers sustained damage as a result of recent floods and in some cases the recovery work that followed. The more we can do to spread the word about best practices for flood remediation and better runoff management, the better.”
Vermont Watershed Grants Program is a joint project of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and VTDEC. The program is funded by sales of the Vermont Conservation License Plate. The program has funded close to 320 watershed projects statewide since 1998. For the 2014 program, $100,000 is available to fund three categories of projects. The three categories of project types and the maximum amount for each project type are: education and outreach ($7,500), planning, assessment, inventory, monitoring ($5,000) and on-the-ground implementation ($15,000).
"When Vermonters purchase a Conservation License Plate they're helping protect healthy streams and lakes as well as conserving wildlife and important habitats for future generations," said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry. “Proceeds from the sale of Conservation License Plates fund the Watershed Grants program and help support the Fish & Wildlife Department's Non-game Wildlife Fund."
The Watershed Grants application guide and application forms are available on the web at: www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/waterq/lakes/htm/lp_watershedgrants.htm
Applications for the Vermont Conservation License Plate are available on the Fish & Wildlife website: www.vtfishandwildlife.com/support_plates.cfm and at offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Media Contacts: Rod Wentworth - Vermont Fish & Wildlife (802) 595-5179; Rick Hopkins - Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (802) 490-6115