Waterbury, VT – Applications are available for the 2012 Vermont Watershed Grants Program to fund projects that help Vermonters protect, restore and enjoy the state’s watersheds. Applications are due to the Vermont Watershed Grants office by Friday, December 9.

“Watershed Grants are available to municipalities, local or regional governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, and citizen groups,” said Rick Hopkins of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VTDEC). “Watershed Grants can be awarded for many types of watershed projects, including those that protect or restore water quality, shorelines, or fish and wildlife habitats.”

“In light of the damage from Tropical Storm Irene, this year we are very interested in projects that implement practical measures or involve education on stream habitat protection, restoration, flood resiliency and related topics,” added Hopkins.

Rod Wentworth of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department explained that watershed grants provide a way for local people to make a difference. “This is a great opportunity for sporting clubs or watershed groups to do something to help their local stream or lake, such as planting trees or developing a watershed conservation plan or outreach program,” said Wentworth. “Many Vermont rivers sustained a lot of damage as a result of Irene and in some cases the recovery work that followed. The more we can do to spread the word about best practices for flood remediation, the better.”

Vermont Watershed Grants is a joint project of the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department and VTDEC. It is funded by Vermont Conservation License Plate sales. The program has funded 292 watershed projects statewide since 1998. This year, $120,000 is available to fund grants up to a maximum possible per grant amount of $15,000.

“When Vermonters purchase a Conservation License Plate they’re helping protect clean water as well as conserving wildlife and important habitats for future generations,” said Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry. “Proceeds from the sale of Conservation License Plates fund the Watershed Grants program and help support the Fish and Wildlife Department’s Nongame Wildlife Fund.”

The Watershed Grants application guide and application forms are available on the web at: www.anr.state.vt.us/dec/waterq/lakes/htm/lp_watershedgrants.htm

Applications for the Vermont Conservation License Plate are available on the Fish and Wildlife website: www.vtfishandwildlife.com/support_plates.cfm and at offices of the Department of Motor Vehicles.

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