The Department of Environmental Conservation’s Clean Water Initiative Program announces over $1.6 million in Ecosystem Restoration Grants for projects to improve water quality across Vermont.
DEC is awarding more than fifty clean water improvement projects, targeting Vermont’s impaired and at-risk rivers, lakes, and wetlands. The grants will go to municipalities, regional planning commissions, natural resource conservation districts, watershed organizations, and other partners to address nutrient and sediment pollution sources caused by stormwater runoff and erosion.
Stormwater runoff is generated when rain and snowmelt flows over land and hard surfaces like parking lots, sidewalks, and roads, instead of being absorbed into the ground. Runoff delivers excess nutrients such as phosphorus to waterways, leading to harmful algal blooms and nuisance aquatic plant growth, which limit our use and enjoyment of these waters and cause economic impacts to business and communities.
The town of Jericho is one of the awardees. The town will install a large infiltration basin which will decrease stormwater runoff that drains into the Browns River and mitigate flooding. Another project, supported by the Windham Regional Commission and the town of Newfane, involves restoring 16 miles of Adams Brook which was heavily damaged from Tropical Storm Irene. The town of Rutland, another grant recipient, will modify an existing stormwater treatment facility to reduce stormwater runoff and streambank erosion to help restore Moon Brook.
“We use science-based planning to identify projects that yield the best improvements in water quality. Thanks to the Clean Water Fund and our partners, we can get these projects on the ground across Vermont,” says Kari Dolan, Clean Water Initiative Program Manager. “Communities benefit not only from improved water quality, but also reduced soil erosion on farms and improved community resilience to flooding.”
The next round of Ecosystem Restoration Grant awards will be announced in late October, with a third grant round anticipated in early 2018. Please visit http://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/cwi/grants for updates.
The Vermont Clean Water Initiative 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/.