Watershed Grants Awarded for 2015
Posted on 03/04/2015
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Media Contact:  Rod Wentworth, Vermont Fish & Wildlife (802) 595-5179

Watershed Grants Awarded for 2015

MONTPELIER, Vt. -- Fifteen watershed improvement projects were chosen to receive funding from Vermont’s 2015 Watershed Grant Program, according to an announcement today from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. 

Forty-four applications were received, requesting a total of $387,744.  The 2015 available funding totaled $100,000 and the size of the individual grants to be awarded ranged 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 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 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 351 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.”

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 (VTDEC).  "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 VTDEC website.  The easiest way to find it is to search for "vt watershed grant."