September 8, 7:00 PM:
September 9, 2:00 PM:
September 15, 5:30 PM:
**All Committee Meetings take place in the WRC Conference Room unless otherwise noted.
**All meetings are subject to change, please check the website for updates.
UPCOMING GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
DEADLINE: November 6, 2015
Working Lands Enterprise
Grant Application Period Opens October 1, 2015
Vermont Municipal Planning Grant
DEADLINE: September 30, 2015
Ecosystem Restoration Grant
DEADLINE October 14, 2015
(Brattleboro and Surrounding Area)
DEADLINE: October 15, 2015
(Brattleboro and Surrounding Area)
DEADLINE: October 15, 2015
USDA Rural Development - Community Facility Loans
DEADLINE: Ongoing (contact USDA office)
New England Grass Roots Environmental Fund
DEADLINE: Rolling (Seed Grant)
Vermont Community Development Program
Vermont Community Foundation
DEADLINE: October 1, and December 1, 2015
VTrans Transportation Alternatives Program
DEADLINE: October 16, 2015
Upcoming Grants will be a regular column in the WRC Newsletter, for a complete list please click here.
For additional information about grant possibilities for your projects please contact Susan at
SHEDDING LIGHT ON THE WORKING FOREST
Paintings by Kathleen Kolb and poems by Verandah Porche
Oct 2, 2015 - Jan 3, 2016
October 2, Friday, 5:30pm
October 8, Thursday, 7pm
Artist Talk: Kathleen Kolb & Verandah Porche
October 15, Thursday, 7pm
Bill Torrey, the Storytelling Logger
October 22, Thursday, 7pm
Panel: Turning Local Wood Into Local Good
These events have been organized by the Brattleboro Museum& Art Center, in partnership with Forest*Care, VT Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation, Vermont Land Trust, Vermont Woods Studios, and Windham Regional Commission.
Floodplain Administrator Training A Success!
Getting floodplain administration right is critical for towns, property owners, and everyone who has or would like to have flood insurance. A town's eligibility to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program depends on it. The WRC partnered with the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and FEMA Region 1 to offer a day-long training on September 3rd for Floodplain Administrators and others involved with issuing permits for development in floodplains. There was a full house of enlightened attendees present. The training covered the basics involved with floodplain administration, including federal, state and local perspectives on all topics.
Nineteen WRC member towns were in attendance, as well as four towns from outside the region in Bennington and Windsor Counties. There was discussion and hands on exercises included in the day. Feedback from attendees showed they got a lot of value out of the training and everyone felt more confident about being a floodplain administrator. This training came about as WRC became aware of the need for better recognition and training of Floodplain Administrators throughout our region.
WRC plans to continue to partner with ANR and FEMA to offer trainings on various topics related to floodplain administration, including river corridors. If you have training needs or questions related to floodplain administration, contact Alyssa Sabetto by email
or 802-257-4547 ext 109.
Guilford Apartments Wins National Award at EPA Brownfields Conference!
The Phoenix Awards Institute, Inc. presented Algiers Village Housing, a 17-unit affordable housing development in Guilford, with an award for outstanding achievement in the redevelopment of a Brownfield site. The award was presented on September 3 in Chicago as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's major national Brownfields conference on environmental revitalization and economic development.
A group of concerned residents formed the Friends of Algiers Village (FOAV) in 2004 to preserve the village and steer future development. In 2005, they purchased three properties in the village. FOAV's first step, in collaboration with Windham & Windsor Housing Trust (WWHT), was to develop a Village Master Plan. The vision for the village center, developed with participation from the community, integrated commercial and residential uses with emphasis on pedestrian-friendly amenities, including walkways and green space. As part of implementing this vision, the historic Tontine building was renovated into seven units of affordable housing, and an historic general store was rehabbed and revitalized. WWHT and Housing Vermont partnered to implement the final phase of the plan and redeveloped the "warehouse site" into 17 new apartments.
WRC used EPA brownfields funds for an environmental assessment of the site and the VT Agency of Commerce and Community Development funded remediation to remove 985 tons of contaminated soil and weathered bedrock and demolish and remove an old tractor repair garage. Senator Patrick Leahy helped secure an EPA grant to fund a .6 mile extension of the Town of Brattleboro's water line to the Village of Algiers, which was crucial to the project moving forward.
"We were able to re-use a brownfield to create attractive in-fill housing in the village center while helping to extend town water," said Connie Snow, Executive Director of the (WWHT). "The award is especially appreciated because it recognizes what we can achieve when community organizations, nonprofits, and state and local organizations work together." Susan McMahon, WRC, accepted the award on behalf of all of the organizations, which worked on this community development project. Visit our website for more information about the WRC Brownfields program
Enhancing Understanding and Practices of Land Management at the Vermont Soils Conference
Understanding soils is critical to conservation and land use management and planning that supports environmental quality, sustainable agriculture, forestry and greener urban, suburban and rural communities. If you know your soils, you know and can better manage the land.
The Windham County Natural Resources Conservation District will co-sponsor a one-day conference on Monday, October 19th from 9am-4pm at the Vermont Technical College in Randolph, Vermont. The conference, entitled Soils: Digging Deeper, is designed to enhance understanding of soil characteristics and behavior and the application of soils information to promote wise land use and management. Workshop coverage will include soil information resources available through USDA's Soil Survey. Recent changes to the data will be provided with information on how to use it. The event will include classroom presentations and field workshops.
Who should attend? Natural resource management and environmental protection professionals; land use planners; foresters; farmers and other land owners and managers will all benefit!
Training Credits: This training has been approved for 4 soils and 2 non-soil credits for Licensed Designers by the VT ANR's Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division.
For more information about the event and conference agenda, please visit the District's website
or call Jolene Hamilton at (802) 254-5323 ext. 104.
The Town of Athens Replaces Three Critical Culverts
It took the Contractor, M.A. Bean Associates, a little less than five weeks to replace three culverts in the Town of Athens that were impacted by Tropical Storm Irene. The new culverts on Walker Road and Brookline Road won't only better facilitate the handling of future high flow events. They'll also improve brook habitat and conditions for organisms that live in the brook.
There are many culverts that are undersized in our communities. Properly sized culverts must be designed to convey not only water, but also what the water is carrying. Because these culverts were damaged during Irene and replacing them with properly-sized culverts will mitigate future damage, the town qualified for the use of Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Relief funding.
The Town received $310,000 to replace these three culverts, and provided the 20% local match. The new culverts are prefabricated concrete structures deemed adequate and recommended by VTrans under current standards and based on a hydraulic analysis of each respective watershed. The Brookline Road culvert was upsized to 6'x4' and the two Walker Road culverts were upsized to 5'x3' and 8'x3'.
As is often the case, properly sized culverts are better not only for flood resilience, but stream habitat as well. The new design will facilitate aquatic organism passage, which means fish, salamanders, turtles and other creatures won't find the culvert to be a barrier.
Thanks to the Town Selectboard, the Road crew, M.A. Bean, the Department of Housing and Community Development, ANR, VTrans and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for all of the hard work and resources dedicated towards improving these culverts!
Brookline Road culvert post-project.
Brookline Road culvert
Building Flood Resiliency through Better Land Management: An upcoming workshop
Landowners and land managers have a direct impact on flooding and the capacity of land to withstand storm events through their land management practices. Well managed lands help reduce flooding and its impacts by stabilizing soils to minimize erosion and retaining water onsite, which reduces peak runoff and the damaging energy of floodwaters.
Join us for a land management workshop on Saturday, October 17, 2015 from 10am to 3pm to learn about best management practices (BMPs) for flood- and erosion-prone lands and the programs and resources that are available to help landowners conserve their properties. Designed for landowners, farmers, foresters, and other land-based professionals, this workshop will create a framework for understanding:
- River dynamics
- Healthy vs. impacted streams
- Best management practices for conserving forest-lands, agricultural lands, and riverbank restoration
- Resources and assistance for landowners
The morning session, located at the Grafton Elementary School in Grafton Vermont, will include a dynamic series of presentations by representatives from State agencies and non-profit organizations. The afternoon session will include 2 options: 1) A session on river dynamics with a stream table demonstration or 2) A field session at a nearby landowners' property with breakout sessions that will enable participants to explore specific topics in-depth. Please dress in appropriate foot gear and clothing if planning to attend the field sessions.
This program is funded through a grant from the High Meadows Fund and is sponsored by the Saxtons River Watershed Collaborative, a partnership of towns, state and regional agencies, and other organizations, committed to addressing flood resiliency at a watershed scale. Sponsors for this event include the Towns of: Grafton, Westminster, Windham, and Rockingham, and the following core partners: Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, Windham Regional Commission, Grafton Elementary School, Vermont River Conservancy, Windham County Natural Resources Conservation District, Windham Foundation, and Trout Unlimited Connecticut River Chapter.
RSVP is required and must be received by October 13. Space may be limited. While this event is open to all, because this program is funded through a Saxtons River Watershed initiative, preference will be given to landowners and other stakeholders of the Saxtons River watershed. The event is free and lunch will be provided. To RSVP or for additional information about the workshop or the Saxtons River Watershed Collaborative, please contact Kim Smith here
or (802) 257-4547 ext. 108. More information on the High Meadows Fund initiative can be found online
Conserving Our Water Resources: Green Infrastructure Workshops
Please note: These workshops have been rescheduled! An RSVP is greatly appreciated.
The quantity and quality of water in our region has direct impacts on all of us. Flooding causes a huge financial burden on municipalities, businesses, and individuals while threatening public safety. Droughts lead to crop failures, inadequate domestic water supplies, and stressed ecosystems. Water quality degradation diminishes ecosystem health, domestic water supplies, and recreational opportunities. New Vermont Clean Water Act legislation reinforces the need for all of us to treat water as a valuable resource.
(GI) is a suite of design tools and structural techniques that address all of these water issues by employing strategies that help to maintain natural hydrologic processes. GI presents significant opportunities for Vermont municipalities, businesses and individuals to reduce the impacts of stormwater on budgets and assets while protecting vital natural resources. As we adapt to the impacts of climate change, it is essential that we seek strategies to protect life, property, and our region's natural resources.
The Windham Regional Commission has rescheduled two Green Infrastructure workshops that were originally set for September 15 and 16.
Please join us during one of our two new scheduled times in October!
The new dates for these workshops are:
Wednesday, October 14th from 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm at the Brattleboro Food Co-op Community Room, 2 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT (The Community Room is accessed from Canal Street.)
Thursday, October 22nd from 9:30 am - noon at the Jamaica Town Hall, 3537 Route 30, Jamaica, VT
- The Hydrologic Cycle: The impact of human activity on water quality and quantity
- Green Infrastructure (GI): What it is and how it can be used to conserve water resources and reduce costs
- Low-impact development and Green Stormwater Infrastructure: Tools and techniques for implementing GI
- GI at the Municipal Level: Resources for supporting GI through municipal plans and regulations
Here is a bit more information on what GI is...
In Vermont, Green Infrastructure (GI) is defined broadly as "a wide range of multi-functional, natural and semi-natural landscape elements located within, around, and between developed areas at all spatial scales." This includes everything from forests and meadows to wetlands, floodplains, and riparian areas. Green infrastructure is critical to maintain and enhance due to the ecological goods and services it provides such as clean water and air, carbon sequestration, flood control, climate change mitigation, and stormwater management.
Low Impact Development (LID) and Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) are two tools that promote the preservation of existing GI assets and utilization of GI to capture, filter, and infiltrate stormwater from developed areas. LID is a planning and design approach that seeks to maintain GI by minimizing land disturbance and avoiding sensitive ecological areas.GSI is a set of on-the-ground management practices that allow stormwater to be managed in the areas where runoff is produced and seeks to restore and maintain natural hydrologic processes.
The workshops are free and refreshments will be served.
An RSVP is greatly appreciated.
To RSVP or for additional information, please contact Kim Smith at email@example.com
or (802) 257-4547 ext. 108.
Supporting the important role of Emergency Management Directors and Coordinators
Is your town doing enough to support the important role of Emergency Management Director or Coordinator (EMD)? Have you given much thought to what the EMD is responsible for and what he or she does? Often the position itself and its responsibilities are conflated with those of the town fire chief or perhaps a town manager or administrator. I would argue the EMD role is quite different and needs its own dedicated resources to minimize out of pocket expenses for these citizen volunteers.
The EMD's responsibility is to ensure that the community knows its vulnerabilities, hazards and threats; plans for any emergencies; responds timely and effectively in any emergency; and conducts recovery operations. The EMD is also responsible for coordinating the various components of the emergency management system: fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, public works, volunteer groups, and state resources. They do this throughout the four phases of emergency management: mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. By law, if an EMD is not appointed by the selectboard, the responsibility defaults to the selectboard chair or town manager.
The responsibilities of an EMD are broader than those of the fire chief and narrower than those of the town manager or administrator. The EMD's focus is on the lifecycle management of all emergencies, whereas the fire chief's focus is on first response and the town manager or administrator's focus is on the overall management of the town and its resources. A good EMD enables others to focus on their primary jobs by serving that coordinating role before, during and after an emergency occurs.
With the exception of those towns that are part of the Vermont Yankee emergency planning zone, EMDs are unpaid volunteers. To see the full range of tasks they're expected to perform check out chapter 2, page 1 of the Local Emergency Management Director's Program Manual
. To perform these tasks, they're expected to regularly participate in Local Emergency Planning Committee meetings and trainings offered by the state. They're also expected to perform myriad tasks in the town. We encourage EMDs to request from their respective towns funding to support, at a minimum, reimbursement for mileage, training costs, and costs necessary to attend the annual state emergency preparedness conference. Towns don't know to budget for an item if it's not requested. Because we work with EMDs from throughout the region we're aware of the out of pocket costs these volunteers are incurring. We also encourage towns to support these requests. An annual budget of around $500 per year in support of your EMD and their critical mission is a responsible approach. For more information about EMD responsibilities and budgeting, please contact Alyssa Sabetto on our staff (firstname.lastname@example.org