Gateway to Summer 
May, 2014 
"Stinking Benjamin" (Trillium Flower)         Photo Credit: Karin Gradziel
In This Issue
ANR Secretary Deb Markowitz
From the Secretary's Desk: Vermont's Lessons from Irene are Influencing National Conversation on Resilience
"Governor Peter Shumlin has been recognized nationally for his leadership during Tropical Storm Irene, and for the many lessons that he and all Vermonters learned about how to recover from disasters and build back stronger than before."

Heat waves, heavy rainstorms, floods. That is the long term forecast for the Northeast as a result of global climate change. 


The National Climate Assessment, issued last week by the White House, provides scientific information about how climate change is impacting different regions of the country and different sectors of the economy. This comprehensive report, developed with help from hundreds of the nation's top experts on climate change, tells us in unprecedented detail that climate change is not some future threat. The report makes it clear that urgent action is needed to combat the threats from climate change and to ensure that our families and communities are resilient to these threats.  Read more...

Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation:
Vermont State Parks Open For The Season!  
- By Jenny Montagne, Vermont State Parks

After a long winter, trees and flowers are in bloom, the weather is getting warmer, and summer is here! Throughout the spring, Vermont State Parks have been preparing for the 2014 season. Starting with Wilgus State Park on April 28 and continuing through Memorial Day Weekend, parks have been opening their gates and welcoming visitors and campers.   


Vermont State Parks are located in some of the most beautiful areas of the state, and no matter where you are you are never more than 30 minutes away from a park.  Read more...

Dept. of Environmental Conservation:
Spotlight on the Office of Environmental Assistance -
By Gary Gulka, Office of Environmental Assistance
EAO Staff Assist Business Owners


We often think of Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as the environmental regulatory and permitting department. And certainly that is the case, with over 45 permitting programs that deal with water quality, drinking water, wastewater, air quality, and solid and hazardous waste management. The Environmental Assistance Office (EAO), within the DEC, is one division that is primarily non-regulatory, and exists to assist the public with understanding and complying with regulations and permits. In addition, the EAO promotes best management practices to minimize impacts on the environment. Here are some of our programs...  Read more . . .

Dept. of Fish & Wildlife:
Vt. Fish & Wildlife Partnership to Improve Trout Habitat in the Northeast Kingdom
Creating trout-friendly habitat in the NEK
"Good trout habitat is often messy," according to Jud Kratzer, a member of the Vt. FIsh & Wildlife fisheries division. He is calf-deep in a stream, chainsaw in hand, felling trees into the water in an effort to improve trout habitat in the Nulhegan River watershed.
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department has partnered with Trout Unlimited, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Plum Creek Timber Company to both restore trout habitat, and improve connectivity, with an overarching goal of increasing the number of trout that survive to reproductive age in the Nulhegan.  Read more . . . .
Conservation Education:
Schools From Across Vermont Compete in 2014 Envirothon -
By Rebecca Phelps, Conservation Education Coordinator
Congratulations to the winners of the
2014 Envirothon!
Each year, high school students from across Vermont dedicate their time and energy to learning about forestry, wildlife, soils and water resources in preparation for the annual Envirothon competition. Teams of students also conduct research within their own communities, choosing a research project related to a natural resource theme chosen by event organizers.
The hopeful student teams come together in mid-May to compete for the highest combined score. Total team scores are cumulative from all exams and the score from an oral presentation outlining the team's community research project. This year's theme was local sustainable agriculture, and seven teams competed for first place in the Envirothon competition.   Read more . . . . 
June Photo Contest Announced!
Photo Credit: Peter Floeckher
The ANR photo contests are back! Thanks for being patient, we've made some changes that we hope will streamline the process, make entering our photo contest easier, and reduce confusion. 

The big news? We have created a dedicated webpage to house the photo contest rules and associated information, as well as to announce and display each month's winner. You can check out the new ANR Photo Contest page here.

In addition, we've eliminated the monthly themes unless specified (moving forward, any nature or natural resource-related subject matter in Vermont is fair game!), standardized the hash tag used to enter (#vtanr, for all photo contests), and changed the monthly deadline for entrance to the 15th of each month. Submissions will be accepted continually, and any photos submitted after the 15th will be entered for consideration in the subsequent month's contest.

Spring and summer abound with opportunities to capture the mystery and beauty of Vermont's natural places. We invite all of you - amateurs and professionals alike - to join in the fun and submit your photos. As always, winners will be recognized here in Ripples, on our Instagram wall, Facebook page and Twitter feed, and now on the new ANR photo contest web page. Please visit the webpage for full contest details and rules.

Fun Facts:
Wild Spring Edibles Abound in Vermont's Forests and Meadows 
Morel mushroom                 
Have you ever gathered wild edibles? In spring,  the first round of edible plants emerge from forest leaf litter and pop up to greet the warming sun in open fields across the state. For wild edible enthusiasts and local food proponents, these early edibles represent some of the first fresh food available after a long winter dormancy. Long anticipated and jealously guarded, wild edibles are prized by home cooks and chefs alike. Here are some things you might expect to find in the spring woods and fields, as well as safety and sustainability considerations when harvesting wild plants...  Read more . . . .
Did You Hear?
News Worth Mentioning
New Lake Shoreland Regulations: Effective July 1, 2014, the Vermont legislature passed shoreland regulations that apply to activities within 250 feet of a lake's mean water level for all lakes greater than 10 acres in size. The Shoreland Protection Act (Chapter 49A of Title 10  �1441 et seq) establishes a new state regulation for guiding shoreland development. The intent of the Act is to prevent degradation of water quality in lakes, preserve habitat and natural stability of shorelines, and maintain the economic benefits of lakes and their shorelands by defining standards for the creation of buildings, driveways, and cleared areas in shorelands. Under the Act, a 100 foot wide area of natural vegetation, where it still exists, is protected from clearing. All existing uses are "grandfathered." New development cannot exceed 20% impervious coverage, 40% clearing of the area of the lot within 250 feet of the shore, or be located on slopes greater than 20%, or best management practices must be used to mitigate impacts. New development will be located at least 100 feet from the water's edge.  A naturally vegetated area (Woodland Zone) along the shore will be maintained, a path and  minimal clearing is allowed, as well as tree thinning in accordance with the Vegetation Management Practices. Existing development can be expanded using best management practices such as re-vegetating stretches of the Woodland Zone or infiltrating runoff, are techniques that help prevent or reduce degrading effects of increased impervious surface or cleared areas.

The Lakes and Ponds staff is working to be ready to implement the new regulations July 1. More information can be found at:

The Vermont Boat Access Greeter Program Kicks Off 2014 Season: The Vermont Boat Access Greeter Program will be starting its 13th season of offering courtesy boat inspections to boaters to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. During an inspection, an access greeter will inspect boats, trailers, and associated recreational equipment for signs of aquatic invasives. Any plant material and animals found during an inspection will be removed and boaters get the chance to learn about the numerous invasive species threatening Vermont's waters. Since the program began in 2002, there have been 1891 intercepts where aquatic material was removed during an inspection. The majority of those intercepts were identified as the highly invasive Eurasian watermilfoil. Just one small fragment of this plant is capable of starting a new infestation elsewhere.
Spring Climate Connection Newsletter Now Available: The latest issue of the Climate Connection newsletter is now available. Find it at
Spaces Still Available at 2014 Green Mountain Conservation Camps: There are still spaces available at the Green Mountain Conservation Camp! 

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is now accepting applications for one additional week at Green Mountain Conservation Camp. The additional week is available due to the cancellation of Military Week, a result of federal budget sequestration cuts.


"Although it's unfortunate the National Guard was unable to fund Military Week this year, said Alison Thomas, education coordinator, "we know other families will be glad to have this opportunity open up for their children to attend the camp."


The week of July 6 - 11, 2014 is now a boys' basic week at GMCC Kehoe located on Lake Bomoseen in Castleton, Vermont. The Department is accepting applications from boys who will be 12 to 14 years of age at the start of camp.

Campers participate in hands-on courses regarding natural resource conservation and outdoor recreation. Courses include forestry, orienteering, hunter and bowhunter education, safe firearm and archery techniques, swimming, canoeing, fishing, wildlife biology, and more while in an attractive outdoor setting. 

Tuition is $250 for the week, including food, lodging and equipment. Full and partial scholarships are available. 

For more information about Green Mountain Conservation Camp, go to, email [email protected], or call 802-828-1460.


Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program to Host Tree Planting 101 Webinar on May 29, 2014:

Tree planting is great fun but in order to ensure health and survivability, it is important to understand how trees work, how they interact with their environment, and how to properly plant them so they become established in their new home. Learn all this and more in this webinar! 


For more information click here.


Presenter: Brian Sullivan, Arborist Technician for the City of Burlington and Vice President of the New England Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.



Vermont Geological Survey Mapping To Take Place This Summer: Jon Kim and Marjorie Gale are mapping bedrock in the South Mountain quadrangle (Bristol and New Haven) through mid-June. In July through October they will be mapping bedrock in the Woodbury quadrangle. Landowners in the area will be contacted concerning access to their property in selected areas. Professors and students from Norwich University will also be mapping in the northern section of the quadrangle.



Vermont's Free Fishing Day is Saturday, June 14: If you've been looking for a good excuse to give fishing a try, here it is! Saturday, June 14, is Vermont's open-water Free Fishing Day - the one day in the summer when residents and nonresidents may go fishing in the Green Mountain State without a fishing license. 


Anglers in Vermont can try for brook, brown or rainbow trout, landlocked salmon, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, walleye, and northern pike as well as several other species.


 Finding a place to fish is easy, but the Department of Fish & Wildlife also hosts a special event especially for kids on Free Fishing Day in Grand Isle. The "Grand Isle Fishing Festival" will be held from 9am to 3pm on Free Fishing Day at the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station in Grand Isle. Designed for young anglers, this free event offers basic fishing instruction and the chance for kids to catch big trout in a pond next to the hatchery.


To find out more about Vermont's great fishing opportunities, contact the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Dept. at 802-828-1000, or visit the website


Check Us Out On Social Media!
Stay connected with us for announcements, sustainability tips, hunting and fishing news, scenic landscape and wildlife photos from our staff in the field, public meeting and comment notices and more:
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Twitter: Look for our handle @VTANR

Instagram: For photo contests and gorgeous field shots from our staff, follow us on Instagram at @VTANR

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources | 802-828-1294 |
[email protected] |
1 National Life Drive
Davis 2
Montpelier, VT 05620-3901

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