WISPr Water Infrastructure Sponsorship Program

What is Sponsorship?

The Water Infrastructure Sponsorship Program (WISPr) is intended to address a limited and under-assisted category of water resource needs in Vermont known as natural resource projects (NRP). The goal of WISPr is to counter the loss of ecological function and biological diversity that jeopardize the health of Vermont’s water resources by providing financial resources.

The value of the natural resources sponsored project must be at a 1:10 or greater ratio to the municipal sponsoring project. The loan provided for approved projects will reduce the administrative fee rate on the loan until the savings on the administrative fee over the life of the loan are equal to the total value of the sponsored NRP.

Why Sponsorship?

  • CWSRF has historically focused on funding wastewater treatment facilities (WWTF) which accounts for a small percentage of pollution in Lake Champlain.
  • Encourages water restoration or protection projects
  • Provides funding source to projects that otherwise wouldn’t be pursued
  • Encourages the concept of Public-Private Partnerships
  • Best “bang for the buck” projects in terms of water quality

How does it work?

Natural resource projects and municipal clean water projects will seek each other through lists maintained by the Water Infrastructure Sponsorship Program (WISPr) and provided on this page. The sponsored project will work within the timeline of the municipal project so both projects complete in a timely manner. The non-profit natural resource project will receive a loan to complete their project. Upon completion, the balance of that loan will be paid off by the sponsoring municilaity's CWSRF loan. When both projects are complete, the administrative rate of the municipality’s loan will be reduced to equal a reduction in annual payments equal to the sponsored project over the life of the loan, plus reduced by an additional 0.1% as an incentive to participating in WISPr.

Who can apply?

Municipalities and nonprofit organizations.

Who cannot apply?

Private for-profit entities or private land owners.

What types of projects are eligible?

Sponsoring projects (municipal): water pollution abatement and control facilities projects are eligible. Examples:

  • Wastewater treatment facility refurbishments or upgrades
  • Filtration or disinfection
  • Decentralized systems
  • CSO downspout disconnection
  • Traditional pipe, storage, and treatment systems for gray infrastructure
  • Bioswales, rainwater harvesting, pervious pavement for green stormwater infrastructure

Sponsored projects (nonprofit or municipal): “a project to protect, conserve, or restore natural resources, including the acquisition of easements and land for the purpose of providing water quality benefits” (24 V.S.A. Chapter 120 § 4752). Examples:

  • Wetland restoration projects
  • Floodplain/stream restoration
  • River corridor easements
  • Woody buffer plantings
  • Lake shoreland retrofit, erosion repair using LakeWise principles
  • Dam removal

Links-- under construction

WISPr Policy updated 6/4/2019
WISPr Policy adopted 12/7/2018
WISPr Fact Sheet
Act 185 as enacted
Qualifications Based Selection-- requirement for engineering and architectural services

FAQ’s last updated 7/26/2019- link for downloading

For more information, please contact Tom Brown, 802 622 4205, or anr.wispr@vermont.gov