State Funding Helps Communities Jumpstart Clean Water Projects
MONTPELIER — There’s more than just water flowing through Vermont’s wetlands, lakes, and rivers during Clean Water Week. Over $10 million in Ecosystem Restoration Grants from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be infused into lakes and streams this fiscal year. The grants go to municipalities, farmers, regional planning commissions, natural resource conservation districts, watershed organizations, and other partners. Projects will target actions that reduce sediment and nutrient pollution, such as phosphorus, from flowing into lakes and streams.
“In the last month, we’ve awarded $3 million in Ecosystem Restoration grants to towns and local organizations. That’s the equivalent of writing a $100,000 check to a community organization or municipality every single day for a month,” said Emily Boedecker, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. “This money supports the tremendous water quality work going on at the local level to restore and protect wetlands, lakes, and rivers. The grant money serves as a catalyst, propelling an all-in approach to achieve Vermont’s clean water goals together.”
State investments include the Municipal Roads Grants-in-Aid program that partners with Vermont’s regional planning commissions to deliver $2.6 million to 211 municipalities across the state to construct projects that minimize erosion and polluted runoff from roads. State clean water investments also include $630,000 in Ecosystem Restoration Grants to fund 17 projects.
Here are a few examples of investment dollars at work:
- Connecticut River Conservancy will implement a project to restore riverside buffers. Buffers protect rivers and streams by filtering stormwater, absorbing and trapping pollution, and adding shade to the river banks to keep the water cooler.
- Caledonia County Natural Resources Conservation District will design gravel wetlands and rain gardens that, once implemented, will treat polluted stormwater running into local waterways from parking lots, roads, roofs, and tennis courts at Pearl Street in St. Johnsbury, Lyndon State College, and Hazen Union School in Hardwick.
- The Vermont River Conservancy and Vermont Land Trust will establish river corridor easements to protect and restore floodplains, making Vermont communities more resilient to future flooding.
The next round of Ecosystem Restoration Grant applications are due September 10th. To learn more about other funding opportunities, attend the Ecosystem Restoration Grant applicant training on Friday, August 3rd at the Pavilion (109 State Street, Montpelier). To attend in person, RSVP to Allison.Compagna@vermont.gov. Alternatively, you may attend online through Skype for Business. Please visit http://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/cwi/grants for more information and updates.
The Ecosystem Restoration Grants are part of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Clean Water Initiative Program. This program funds, tracks, and reports on priority projects to restore Vermont’s waters. For a complete list of projects and progress reports, or for more information, please visit: http://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/cwi/.
Photo caption: The Municipal Roads Grants-in-Aid program helps Vermont’s municipalities, in partnership with regional planning commissions, implement best management practices to minimize erosion and polluted runoff from roads. For example, see before and after construction of best management practices on Mile Hill Road by the Town of Springfield in partnership with Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission. Photo credit: Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission.