The 2016 Vermont Watershed Grants Program is now accepting applications for funding projects that help Vermonters protect, restore and enjoy the state's watersheds. The applications are due no later than Friday, November 20, 2015.
"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). "Many types of watershed projects are eligible, including those that protect or restore water quality, shorelines or fish and wildlife habitats."
“We are very interested in projects that implement practical measures or involve education concerning watershed flood resiliency or the protection and restoration of lake shorelines or stream corridor habitat," 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 18th 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. “We are blessed with many wonderful lakes and rivers in Vermont, and practices such as restoring vegetation along shorelines, removing old abandoned dams and improving storm runoff management can help improve their health and value for fish and wildlife. The more we can do to spread the word about how to best protect both our waters and our property, the better.”
Vermont Watershed Grants Program is a joint project of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and VTDEC and is funded by sales of the Vermont Conservation License Plate. The program has funded 351 watershed projects statewide dating back to 1998. For the 2016 program, $70,000 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 ($5,000), planning, assessment, inventory, monitoring ($3,500) and on-the-ground implementation ($10,000).
"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 Louis Porter. “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. A portion of any increased sales since the department redesigned the plates will go to the Conservation Camp program."
The Watershed Grants application guide and application forms are available now.
Applications for the Vermont Conservation License Plate are available on the Department of Motor Vehicles website.