May 23, 2019

Intro to canoe, kayak fishing on Oct. 5

Bring your own canoe or kayak on Oct. 5.

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department will present an “Intro to Canoe and Kayak Fishing”    seminar at Waterbury Center State Park at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 5.

“This program is perfect for the avid paddler looking to do a little more on the water,” said Corey Hart, an education specialist with the department. “Instructors will cover fishing regulations, casting, ecology and more before going fishing on Waterbury Reservoir as a group.”

The seminar is free, but there will be a State Park day-use fee of $4.

Fishing equipment will be provided, but participants need to bring their own canoe or kayak and personal flotation device. Paddling experience is required.

Registration is limited on a first-come-first serve basis. To register, email letsgofishing@vermont.gov or call 802-265-2279.

‘Farm to School’ grant program to open soon for new applications

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) will release the 2019 Vermont Farm to School Grant Program Request for Applications on Oct. 2. This new round of grants will bring more than $250,000 in financial and support services investments to Vermont schools and early care providers. Eligible applicants include Vermont schools, supervisory unions, school districts, and early care providers.

Last year was the first grant round including early care providers, granting 21 awards throughout Vermont. The program’s early care component was designed in partnership with Agency of Education Child Nutrition Programs, Department for Children and Families Child Development Division, and Shelburne Farms, helping make farm to early care programs accessible to our youngest Vermonters. This program has the potential to support new institutional markets for food producers, while providing children with fresh, nutritious local foods.

The VAAFM Farm to School team is seeking applications from eligible Vermont-based schools and early care providers to expand and improve food programs and/or to create or expand farm to school programs by integrating the classroom, cafeteria, and community (the 3 C’s of farm to school). Up to seven applications will be awarded at $15,000 each, to be spent during a 2-year grant period, with additional comprehensive technical assistance, professional development and coaching offered at no charge to grantees. Additionally, up to $32,000 will be available in $1,000 infrastructure grants to help schools and early care providers improve local food use.

To learn more, visit: http://agriculture.vermont.gov/vermont_farm_to_school_program

Scott announces $2.4 million in grants for EV charging stations

While the electric vehicle (EV) was invented nearly 50 years before the gas-powered automobile came onto the scene in 1885, widespread adoption of EVs has been slow. Part of the reason for the sluggish transition from gas-powered cars to EVs in recent years has been an insufficient number of EV charging stations. Today, Governor Phil Scott made an important step in accelerating EV adoption recently by announcing Vermont’s new Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment program (EVSE). This program will deliver millions of dollars to communities across the state to install electric vehicle charging stations.

“Transportation is the largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont and passenger vehicle use makes up the largest share of those emissions,” said Governor Scott. “Increasing the use of electric vehicles is a critical strategy for Vermont to reduce emissions from the transportation sector and to achieve its goal of 90 percent renewable energy use by 2050. This new grant program will help expedite Vermont’s transition to cleaner forms of transportation.”

The $2.4 million charging station grant program will advance Vermont’s effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a greener and more vibrant economy. The funding came from a settlement between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Volkswagen after the company violated the Clean Air Act by selling cars that purposefully emitted more pollution than allowed.

This program is a partnership between the Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Housing and Community Development, Agency of Transportation, Department of Health and the Public Service Department. The program prioritizes funding in State-designated areas, like downtowns and village centers, highway corridors, public transit stops, major tourist destinations, colleges and universities, hospitals, public park-and-rides, workplaces and multi-family housing.

Grant applications for the first round are due Nov. 30, 2018. For information about the program or to apply, visit the Department of Housing and Community Development website at https://accd.vermont.gov/community-development/funding-incentives/electric-vehicle-supply-equipment-evse-grant-program. For more information about the EVSE grant program contact gary.holloway@vermont.gov or visit the Department of Housing and Community Development’s website.

Technical assistance for EVSE grant applicants will be available through Drive Electric Vermont. The Vermont Department of Building and General Services’ vendors will offer tailored support for municipalities and schools.

Clean water funds assure water quality protection on popular forest road

The Cotton Brook Road that winds its way through Waterbury, Bolton and Stowe in Mt. Mansfield State Forest is a popular multi-season route for dog walkers, runners, mountain bikers, cross country skiers and snowmobilers. It’s also the only vehicular access for forest management on a major block of the forest. A small stream runs beneath a portion of this road, and in recent years, a large 65-year old concrete culvert began crumbling into the pristine brook running through it. This stream feeds the larger Cotton Brook in the Winooski River Basin, which would have received a burst of sediment if the road crossing failed suddenly.

“We have known this stream crossing was deteriorating,” said Ginger Anderson, District Forest Manager in the Central Vermont office of Forests, Parks and Recreation (FPR). “Plans had been drawn up by Grenier Engineering to replace the culvert, but we needed funding assistance to implement them.”

FPR applied for a grant under the Ecosystem Restoration Program (ERP), administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). With advice from the River Management Engineer and the Watershed Planner in DEC, the district was awarded funds to replace the old culvert with a more resilient structure.

The project bid went to Stowe-based Dale E. Percy, Inc. who contracted to remove the old structure and set in place a new metal culvert. Thanks to low water levels and an efficient crew, the culvert was replaced in less than two weeks with little disruption to the many people who recreate here and minimal disturbance to the stream. The project came in under estimated costs and used local labor for both the engineering and construction phases: a win for water quality and the community.

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