From a dam removal project on the upper Wells River to milfoil reduction in Charleston, fifteen watershed improvement projects will be going forward this spring thanks to funding from Vermont’s 2014 Watershed Grant Program.
According to an announcement from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, the recipients were chosen from 58 applications received, requesting a total of $432,700. The size of the individual grants ranged from $2,500 to $15,000 and will total the available 2014 funding of $100,000.
This year’s projects cover a range of water quality and aquatic habitat projects and include examples in three categories of implementation, education and planning.
“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.”
The Vermont Watershed Grants fund was established by the legislature and is funded from the proceeds of Vermont Conservation License Plate sales, which also support the Nongame and Natural Heritage Program. The Departments of Environmental Conservation and Fish & Wildlife have co-administered the Watershed Grants program since 1998. Close to $1.4 million has been provided to fund 336 projects. Administrative costs paid for out of the program are $0 — all the money goes to the grant projects.
This year’s projects include:
• 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),
• Expanding the effectiveness of lake protection strategies (Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds),
• River access project in Rochester and Pittsfield (VT River Conservancy),
• Explain river dynamics using a flume (Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation District),
• Milfoil spread prevention (Town of Charleston),
• Pinney Hollow Brook floodplain / habitat restoration (Two Rivers Ottauquechee Regional Planning Commission), and
• Planning for Water Street river park (Town of Northfield).
“You can support wildlife conservation for future generation and the watershed grant program by purchasing a conservation license plate,” said Wentworth. The application form can quickly be found online by searching for "vt conservation plate.”
The grant application period opens every year in October and closes in late November or early December.
"We broadly publicize the program every fall," said Rick Hopkins of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation. "If you are wondering if your project idea might be a good candidate for funding, feel free to contact Rod Wentworth (595-5179) or myself (490-6115)." Program information can be found on the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation website.”
Media Contact: Rod Wentworth, Vermont Fish & Wildlife (802) 595-5179