Waterways across the state will see improvements in 2013 thanks to Vermont’s Watershed Grant Program, which has awarded a dozen watershed improvement projects a total of $120,000. According to an announcement today from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, the applicants each received individual grants ranging from $3,500 to $15,000.
The 2013 projects exemplify a range of restoration and education projects including:
• Riparian habitat along two miles of the Missisquoi River,
• In-stream trout habitat in the Nulhegan watershed, and
• Storm-damaged riparian area on the Black River in Cavendish.
• Creating a residential stormwater education and technical assistance program in the Winooski River watershed,
• Providing education and outreach on the importance of wild lakeshore buffer creation and maintenance, and
• Creating a case study publication and outreach to highlight good and bad river and shoreline management.
"Many of the restoration projects also include an education component and involve local volunteers,” said Rod Wentworth of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “Although these grants are small, much is accomplished and the increased public awareness should pay benefits into the future. 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 half the proceeds from sale of Vermont Conservation License Plates. The other half of the proceeds go to the Nongame and Natural Heritage Program. The Departments of Environmental Conservation and Fish & Wildlife co-administer the Watershed Grants program which has been underway since 1998 and has provided $1,278,000 to fund 321 projects. No administrative costs are associated with the program, and all the money is used for the grant projects.
"When Vermonters purchase a Conservation License Plate they're helping protect clean water 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 Nongame Wildlife Fund."
You can support conservation and the watershed grant program by purchasing a conservation license plate. The application form can easily be found online by searching for "vt conservation plate."
The grant application period opens every year in October and closes in 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)."