I had just returned from paddleboarding this beautiful afternoon and noticed a kayaker was also enjoying the solitude of this November afternoon on Lake Champlain in Alburgh, Vermont.
Vermont Watershed Grants
Vermonters have an opportunity to protect and restore watersheds through the Vermont Watershed Grants Program. Half of the proceeds derived from the sale of the Vermont Conservation License Plate go towards funding the Vermont Watershed Grants Program.
The Program is co-administered by DEC and the Department of Fish and Wildlife; and it distributes grant dollars for noteworthy local and regional water-related projects within Vermont. The other half of proceeds derived from the Conservation License Plate go towards helping the Vermont Non-Game and Natural Heritage Program.
If you’re interested, you can join their new mailing list to receive future announcements about the Watershed Grants Program. When you sign up to register, simply select “Watershed Grant Program announcements.”
Grant funds are available for water-related projects that:
- Protect or restore fish and wildlife habitats
- Protect or restore water quality, and shorelines;
- Reduce phosphorus loading and/or sedimentation as part of DEC’s Clean Water Initiative objectives;
- Enhance recreational use and enjoyment;
- Identify and protect historic and cultural resources;
- Educate people about watershed resources; or
- Monitor fish and wildlife populations and/or water quality.
Who May Apply
Municipalities, local or regional governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, and citizen groups are eligible to receive Watershed Grants for work on public or private lands. Individuals and state and federal agencies are not eligible to receive funds directly, but may be partners of a project.
Awards made up to $10,000, depending on project category type. Category types and the maximum grant amount for each project category type are as follows:
– Education and outreach – up to $5,000
– Planning, assessment, inventory, monitoring – up to $3,500
– On-the-ground implementation – up to $10,000
Watershed Grants Program dollars are intended for complete projects or for discreet, identifiable portions of larger projects.
Grant awards are made on an annual cycle, with applications due in the fall of the year and funding decisions made the following mid-winter.
The 2017 Project Year grant application deadline is December 2, 2016. Persons interested in applying should consult and use the 2017 project year forms shown below.
- Vermont Watershed Grants Application Guide (2017 project year)
- Watershed Grant Application (2017 project year)
- Watershed Grant Application (2017 project year) – Word version
- Standard State Insurance Requirements for Grantees
- Conservation License Plate logo
A copy of the Grant Application Guide and the Grant Application may also be requested by contacting the Watershed Management Division.
Supermoon Rising Over Lake Champlain
This photo of the Supermoon rising over Lake Champlain was taken by Betsy Dall from Grand Isle, Vermont on November 13, 2016.
Other Lake Champlain Points of Interest:
- Dead Creek Wildlife Day 2016
- Lake Champlain Bridge Guided Walk
- Crown Point State Historic Site Museum, Bird Banding Station open
- Lake Champlain’s Burton Island State Park Named in Top 10 New England Parks
- A Paddling Long Trail: The Northern Forest Canoe Route
Vermont Bald Eagles Nest in Record Numbers in 2016
In 2016 bald eagles produced 34 successful young in Vermont, smashing the most recent record of 26 in 2013 according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Dept. The birds remain on the list of species protected under Vermont’s state endangered species law, but this strong year has conservationists hopeful for their continued recovery.
This year also saw record nesting success for several other bird species monitored by biologists and volunteers in Vermont. Peregrine falcons successfully raised at least 81 young birds in 2016, breaking the previous state record of 67, according to Audubon Vermont who monitors nesting peregrine falcons in partnership with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
Vermont also welcomed 80 new birds to the state’s loon population, breaking the previous record of 69. The Vermont Center for Ecostudies monitors the state’s nesting loons.
The mild weather this spring likely helped boost numbers of all three birds, according to John Buck, migratory bird biologist with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
“The cooperative weather provided a bump to many species this year, but the continued recovery of these species is the result of a long-term effort by our department and our partners to conserve the habitat these birds need to thrive,” said Buck.
Peregrine falcons and bald eagles declined in the Twentieth Century nationwide due to loss of habitat, disturbance to nests, and the effects of the pesticide DDT. Laws such as the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and a ban on DDT have aided in the recovery of these birds. Loons similarly faced dramatic declines as a result of shoreline development and human disturbance of their habitat.
In 2005, peregrine falcons, loons, and osprey were removed from Vermont’s state endangered species list following years of conservation effort. Bald eagles have recovered in most of the contiental U.S. and have been removed from the federal endangered species list, but remain on Vermont’s state endangered species list as they continue to recover locally.
“Vermonters have played a huge role in the recovery of these species,” said Margaret Fowle, biologist with Audubon Vermont. “We work with a large number of citizen volunteers who help monitor nests, while the general public has aided in recovery efforts by maintaining a respectful distance from these birds during the critical nesting season. Paddlers have been keeping away from nesting loons, and the climbing community has been helpful by respecting cliff closures and getting the word out about where the birds are.”
Vermonters can help researchers in their effort to conserve birds by donating online to the nongame wildlife fund at www.vtfishandwildlife.com or by purchasing a conservation license plate, including the new loon design plate.