WRC NEWSLETTER                                          DECEMBER 2015
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WRC Commissioners
December 1, 6:00 PM:
December 14, 5:30 PM:

December 15, 5:30 PM:
December 17, 6:00 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.

Vermont Recreational Trails Program
DEADLINE:  Feb. 1, 2016
For more information: click here
Working Lands Enterprise
Grant Application Period Opens October 1, 2015
For more information: click here

Strong Communities, Better Connections (VTrans & DHCA)
DEADLINE:  Jan. 16, 2016
For more information click here.
USDA Rural Development - Community Facility Loans 
& Grants
DEADLINE:  Ongoing (contact USDA office)
For more information click here.

New England Grass Roots Environmental Fund
DEADLINE:  Rolling (Seed Grant) 
For more information click here.

Vermont Community Development Program
DEADLINE:  Rolling
For more information click here.

Vermont Community Foundation
DEADLINE:  Jan. 12, 2016
Innovations and Collaborations 
DEADLINE: Jan. 12, 2016 
DEADLINE:  Rolling
For more information click here.

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 
Windham Region towns receive Municipal Planning Grant awards
Congratulations to the five Windham Region towns successfully applied for Municipal Planning Grant (MPG) funds. Athens, Dummerston, Londonderry and Newfane were awarded fund to assist with updates to their town plans; Windham was awarded funds to assist with updates to its zoning to implement its updated town plan. For further information regarding MPG applications and awards please visit the DHCD website or contact John Bennett at 257-4547 ext. 110.
Solicitation for Local Investment Financing Proposals
Pursuant to Section 220 of Act 199 of 2014 and as reauthorized during the 2015 Legislative Session by ACT 51, Section E.3, the Local Investment Advisory Committee (LIAC), chaired by the State Treasurer, will receive proposals for local investment financing from interested parties from December 5, 2015 through May 13, 2016.
Solicitation for Local Investment Financing Proposals specifications and eligibility information can be found here. The LIAC report with details pertaining to the work of the Committee is linked here: This report was submitted to the General Assembly on January 15, 2015.
Proposals for financing will be considered in the following areas: 
  • Housing and Energy;
  • Transportation;
  • Municipal Infrastructure; and
  • Financing Post-Secondary Education 

Beth Pearce will announce the opening of this Solicitation tomorrow at the Vermont Community Energy and Climate Action Conference.


All proposals should be submitted by Email to:Tim.Lueders-Dumont@Vermont.Gov.
NADO Holds Webinar on Nuclear Decommissioning Policy for Host Communities;
WRC Participates as Presenter

the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) hosted a webinar for communities that host nuclear power stations to provide guidance on actions communities might take in response to Nuclear Regulatory Commission's  (NRC) release of its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking that will ultimately establish the rules for the decommissioning of nuclear power stations.  The webinar also discussed a framework for host communities to effectively engage in NRC's decommissioning rulemaking process to improve outcomes for communities after closure.On December 9thHost communities from throughout the nation participated in the webinar.  The WRC and the Institute for Nuclear Host Communities were the two primary presenters of the issues and stakes.  We want to thank NADO for taking a leadership role in this important issue!  The webinar is available here.
Executive Director

Associate Director

Office Manager

Finance Manager

Senior Planner

Planning Technician

Senior Planner

Senior Planner


Assistant Planner
MOOver's Ribbon Cutting for Its New Home 

The MOOver division of Southeast Vermont Transit (formerly Deerfield Valley Transit Association) marked the grand opening of the new transportation facility on November 17, 2015.   The Wilmington facility opened in stages, with the final landscaping, paving, and site work completed in late October. The last section of the Riverwalk connecting downtown Wilmington to Lake Whitingham on the MOOver's property was completed October 29th as part of this project.    

Nine federal, state, and local funding sources were used for the 16,000 square foot facility costing $5.6 million. The Vermont Agency of Transportation, the WRC's Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund (RLF), the US Department of Agriculture, and The Wilmington Fund VT provided grants and loans, with The KeyBank providing $1.3 million of bridge financing.  WRC's RLF made available a loan/grant combination for $171,500 for Brownfields clean up at the former Barnboard site.    

The Grand Opening Ceremony culminates 19 years of planning, permitting, design, financing, and construction.  The facility provides offices, driver facilities, maintenance bays a sophisticated bus wash system with 90% water reclamation, 12,000 gallon above-ground diesel fuel tank, Riverwalk Trail with benches and historical displays, and parking for 30 buses and 35 cars for staff.
Windham Wood Heat Assists Municipalities with Converting to Advanced Wood Heat
Do any of your municipal buildings need a boiler upgrade in the near future? Are you interested in heating any of your public buildings with a high- efficiency advanced wood boiler fueled by a local, renewable resource that offers price stability? The Windham Wood Heat Initiative (WWH) is accepting applications from municipalities and public schools in Windham County that are interested in transitioning their public buildings to wood heat. WWH, funded through the Vermont Public Service Department's Clean Energy Development Fund, is a collaboration of local and regional partners that came together to assist public entities transition their buildings to advanced wood heat technologies while addressing those buildings' durability needs. Financial and technical assistance are available to participating communities. Currently there are well over a dozen selectboards and school boards that have recently converted their buildings to wood heat or are participating in the WWH program to assess the feasibility of conversion. For more information about the program or to learn what the next steps are for prospective buildings, please contact Kim Smith: ksmith@windhamregional.org or (802) 257-4547 x108.
Upcoming Public Meetings on the Vermont Clean Water Act for Town Officials

The Vermont legislature recently passed Act 64, the Vermont Clean Water Initiative, to set caps on the amount of nutrients (e.g. nitrogen, phosphorus) in Vermont's' lakes and waterways. ACT 64 creates a new permit process for municipalities to address storm water run-off (e.g. nutrient loading and sedimentation) from roadways, both paved and unpaved.  WRC will be hosting two Public Outreach meetings for town officials to discuss the VT Department of Environmental Conservation Municipal Roadway Permit implementation timeline.  Jim Ryan, DEC, will present an overview of the regulatory process and will address any requirement questions.
The two meetings will be on January 11, 2016 at 10:00 am and at 4:30 pm.
  • The 10:00 am meeting will be the quarterly Windham Region Road Foremen Meeting and will be held at the Townshend Garage on VT Rte 35.
  • The 4:30 pm meeting will be the monthly WRC Transportation Committee Meeting, and will be held at the Brattleboro Public Library, Public Meeting Room, 2nd Floor.
This permit will have an impact on all Vermont municipalities so we encourage Road Foremen and other town officials and leaders to please consider attending one of the meetings.  Also, check the Municipal Roads General Permit website for the latest versions of handouts and a preview of Jim Ryan's power point can be found here.  
If you are planning to attend the 4:30 meeting please RSVP so we can accommodate everyone.   

Call Matt Mann (x120) or Kim Smith (x108) with any questions.  

Energy Committee Responds to the Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan
This fall the Vermont Public Service Department released the State's draft Comprehensive Energy Plan.  The Energy Committee met on October 1 and November 5 to discuss comments responding to the document. The committee decided to provide a spectrum of views held by individual members (not the Commission, nor the Committee as a whole). However, upon review of the comments, the Committee decided to endorse the comments expressed by Commissioner John Whitman. In sum, Whitman's comments praised the PSD for producing a valuable document but expressed concern in two general areas. First, it was asserted that the plan has a scope deficiency: despite its wealth of information on the energy-related topics which it does cover, the draft CEP significantly underweighs coverage of the reliability and security of the electric grid, which are required attributes of state energy policy. The second general criticism is that the draft CEP falls short of meeting the full definition of a "plan" in the management/administrative sense of providing a well-defined progression of steps to meet stated goals and objectives. The 2015 draft CEP can perhaps best be described as providing a framework for a plan, rather than a completed plan. 
Energy Committee members also individually provided comments regarding updates to the natural gas section, a suggestion to adopt new provisions that allow for voltage and frequency ride-through of distributed generation to improve system stability, and support for the proposed carbon tax. If you have questions or comments, please contact Kim Smith ksmith@windhamregional.org  or (802) 257-4547 x108.
The Natural Resources Committee Prepares Response to the Draft Required Agricultural Practices
The Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets (AAFM) has released a draft of the Required Agricultural Practices (RAP) which is part of Act 64, the recently enacted Vermont Clean Water Act. The WRC's Natural Resources Committee has prepared comments for submission to the AAFM. The letter comments the AAFM for their proposed measures to protect water resources by requiring increased perennial buffers, nutrient management planning, and sound manure management practices. The Natural Resources Committee also offers a few concerns about the RAP, including ambiguity about the definition of farm and small farm, the appropriateness of required training for some farmers, ambiguity around the disposal of chemical fertilizers, and the minimum buffer requirements around some private wells. The Natural Resources Committee believes that the RAP, in combination with Vermont's other Clean Water Act initiatives, will make a significant difference in the health of our surface and ground water resources.  For more information, please contact Kim Smith at ksmith@windhamregional.org or (802) 257-4547 ext. 108.
The WRC Launches Outreach Program to Improve Water Quality 

Through a grant provided from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) the Windham Regional Commission (WRC) has launched a multi-pronged outreach effort focused on improving water quality in compliance with the Vermont Clean Water Act (VCWA) which was made law this past spring.  
The WRC will work with municipal staff and boards to provide information about the requirements for municipalities triggered by the VCWA and also work with towns to review and implement stronger municipal protections against flood hazards and river corridor erosion, and other town plan or zoning changes to improve water quality. Thirdly, the WRC will work closely with DEC staff to facilitate municipal participation in water quality planning and implementation through the Tactical Basin Plans

This outreach begins with a series of meetings scheduled for January 11th (the descriptions of these events are included in this newsletter).  We anticipate that this will be an ongoing, multi-year effort.
For more information, please contact Kim Smith: ksmith@windhamregional.org (x108).
Windham Regional Commission Secures Ecosystem Restoration Program Funding
The WRC secured funding from the state Ecosystem Restoration Program for two projects. One is to conduct stream geomorphic assessments and develop a river corridor management plan for the North River in Halifax and Whitingham. The second project is to develop final designs and cost estimates for the restoration of Adams Brook in Newfane to remove excessive bed armoring (4+ feet deep) applied to a reach of the brook post-Tropical Storm Irene and restore the stream channel. This work will ready the project for implementation funding. For more information please contact John Bennett at: johnbenn@windhamregional.org  or 257-4547 ext. 110.
Trout and a Clean Water Future for Vermont: A Promise for Healthier Aquatic Communities

As a seasoned fisherman will confirm, "no clean water, no fish habitat, no trout." Sometimes referred to as the streams' "canary in the coal mine," trout require high quality, oxygen-rich cold water streams and good habitat throughout their life cycle. Sedimentation from erosion, nutrient loading from nitrogen and phosphorus runoff, and other water quality and habitat degradations have an enormous impact on their survival. Please join us on January 11 to explore and discuss the essential components of a healthy trout population and the importance of clean water to supporting healthy aquatic organism populations.  Representatives from across the State will join us to discuss fish populations, fish habitats and what the new Vermont Clean Water Act will mean for Vermont's waterways, towns, and farmers.
  • When: January 11, 2016 at 6:30-8:30pm
  • Where: Marlboro College Graduate School, 28 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, VT
  • Who should attend: Anyone interested in the health of our fish populations and waterways.
Keynote: Louis Porter, Commissioner, and Rich Kirn, Fisheries Program Manager, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department
Chris Campany, Executive Director, Windham Regional Commission
David Deen, State Representative and River Steward, Connecticut River Watershed Council
Jim Ryan, Environmental Analyst, Vermont Department of Conservation
Ryan Patch, Senior Agriculture Development Coordinator, Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
This event is sponsored by the Connecticut River Chapter (#450) of Trout Unlimited; Windham Regional Commission; Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department; Vermont Department of Conservation; Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets; Windham County Natural Resources Conservation District; and Connecticut River Watershed Council.       
Light refreshments will be served. While an RSVP is not required, it is appreciated. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Kim Smith: ksmith@windhamregional.org or (802) 257-4547 ext. 108.
Building momentum! Engaging Nuclear Host Communities in the NRC's Decommissioning Policy Development

The world of federal decommissioning policy is feeling a little less lonely.  The WRC has been advocating for meaningful and substantive engagement of nuclear host communities in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) development of nuclear power plant decommissioning policy that is now underway.  Vermont's federal delegation has been very supportive of this position.  During its November meeting the Nuclear Decommissioning Citizens Advisory Panel (NDCAP) adopted an advisory position drafted by the WRC which calls for host communities from throughout the nation to have a meaningful seat at the table.  This position suggested that an organization such as the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) be given federal support to convene host communities to define the issues based upon the experience of past decommissionings, develop policy recommendations, and have direct engagement with the NRC in a manner that is similar to that which the Nuclear Energy Institute, the advocacy organization for the nuclear industry, enjoys.  The adoption of this position by NDCAP has already resulted in action.  On December 9th NADO hosted a webinar specifically for nuclear host communities to make them aware of the issues at stake in the NRC's policymaking, and the fact that on November 19th the NRC published its advance notice of proposed decommissioning policy rulemaking with a very short public comment period that coincides with major holidays and which is to end on January 4th.  The WRC was a presenter in this webinar along with the Institute for Nuclear Host Communities.  The webinar drew participation from host communities from around the country, and each was urged to file a request with the NRC that the public comment deadline be extended by another 45 days.  The NRC is beginning to recognize host communities as a stakeholder group whose voice needs to be heard.  The WRC has been invited to present a host region perspective on decommissioning policy at the NRC's 2016 Regulatory Information Conference that will be held in Rockville, Maryland in March.  It feels like momentum is building behind getting host communities engaged in the development of the federal policy that will govern how nuclear power plants decommission in the future.
Windham Regional Commission 
139 Main Street, Suite 505
Brattleboro, VT 05301
Phone: (802) 257-4547
Fax: (802) 254-6383