Summer, 2014 
Congratulations to Vera Reznik for her winning image (July): "I See You"
In This Issue
AOT Dep. Sec. Sue Minter, VT Gov. Peter Shumlin, and ANR Sec. Deb Markowitz discuss climate resilience in Washington D.C.
From the Secretary's Desk: Vermont Advocates for National Policy Changes for Resilience
* This guest article is authored by Sarah McKearnon, Senior Policy Advisor to the Secretary at the Agency of Natural Resources.
 

Tropical Storm Irene was transformative for our small state. The recovery was long and arduous, and Vermonters now understand that as our climate changes we will have to brace ourselves for more frequent severe storms. Out of disaster came a strong determination to fortify our resistance. 

 

We are witnessing a similar transformation at the federal level.  Read more...

Dept. of Environmental Conservation:
  
Green Stormwater Infrastructure Improves Water Quality in the Green Mountain State
- By Justin Kenney, DEC Green Infrastructure Coordinator
Rain Garden at UVM
It's a rainy day in the Green Mountain State. The sound of water splashing, pooling, and running off of buildings and down into the streets is everywhere. The rainfall brings life to gardens, forests and wildlife, and replenishes  underground aquifers as well as surface water sources. Unfortunately, the runoff that accompanies stormwater is not nearly as innocuous. Stormwater runoff is water from rain or melting snow that "runs off" across the land instead of seeping into the ground. This runoff, which is not treated in any way, usually flows into the nearest stream, creek, river or lake. Read more...
Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation: Forestry
  
Vermont Legislature Expands Opportunities to Enroll Land as Ecologically Significant Treatment Area
 - By Ginger Anderson, Chief of Forest Management, Dept. of Forests, Parks and Rec.
 
Legislative changes to Vermont's Use Value Appraisal Program (also called UVA or Current Use) slipped in under many people's radar in 2014. One of the key changes gives the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation the ability to approve forest management plans with acres enrolled in Ecologically Significant Treatment Areas (ESTAs) that exceed previously established program limits. 

Unlike Current Use in some states, Vermont's program is a "working lands" program, not an "open space" protection program. This means that agricultural or forest lands enrolled in the program for the tax benefit must be working in the landscape to qualify.  Read more . . . .
Dept. of Forests, Parks and Recreation: Recreation
  
Trail Running Gains Popularity as Runners Discover the Joys of Traversing the Backcountry
 - By Jenny Montagne, State Parks
Trail runners enjoy the view
 
Trail running is an emerging sport which combines the endurance and strength required for long distance running with the variable terrain and elevation changes of hiking. The sport has been steadily growing in popularity over the past several years as more and more runners take to the woods to train. Many runners prefer trail running to more traditional road running because trails tend to be softer and more forgiving than concrete. Trail running also allows the runner to become immersed in nature and explore new wild areas, which always keeps things interesting; dodging obstacles like rocks and roots requires focus and quick thinking.

Whatever your ability or comfort level, there are a wide variety of places to give the sport a try.  Read more . . . .
Dept. of Fish & Wildlife:
  
Eating Wild-Caught Fish Can Be Healthy for You and the Environment
- By Tom Rogers, F&W

 

Fishing is a favorite summer pastime among Vermonters and visitors to the state for good reason - fish tastes great. While anglers may enjoy fishing as a chance to get in the outdoors with friends and family, many also appreciate the benefit of bringing their catch home for a nutritious meal. 

 

Vermont anglers can hook many of the traditional fish like trout, bass and salmon that are beloved by chefs. But many other fish species such as yellow perch, crappie and pumpkinseeds are also abundant in Vermont'ws waters and are easy to catch. These species are often referred to as panfish because they are delicious when pan-fried. Read more . . .

Flood Resilience:
  
Plan for Resilience with the FloodReady.gov Website
 - By Ned Swanberg, Dept. of Environmental Conservation
In Vermont, the most common and costly disaster is flooding; but flooding does not need to be a disaster!

As communities update their municipal plans they are adding a new section on flood resilience. This section identifies how the community will avoid making problems worse, will take specific steps to direct new development to safer places, will improve the reliability of roads, and prepared for flood emergencies.  Read more . . . .
ANR:
  
June Photo Contest Winners Announced!
August ANR Photo Contest Winner: "Spider Art" by Vera Reznik

We had another great month for photos in August. Vera Reznik, whose "I See You" photo of a fox cub is featured at the top of the newsletter, also won the August contest with her image "Spider Art" (above). This is the first time that the same contestant has won in two consecutive months. Congratulations Vera!

We thought it might also be a good time to share how our photo contest winners are chosen. Our outreach coordinator narrows the entries down to around 30 finalists. From there, each image is assigned a number and all other identifying information is removed. In this way, the contests become anonymous. The album of our finalists is distributed to a panel of 12 volunteer judges from the ANR and its three departments. Each person chooses a first, second and third place winner. A first place vote is worth 3 points, second place 2, and third place 1 point. Points are tallied, and the photo with the highest overall score is the winner. The next highest score becomes second place, and so on. 

It is interesting to note that quite a few of the images this month come from ANR employees - including second place winner Brenda Berry (ANR business office), third place winner Cindy Grimes (DEC waste management division), and runner up Blaine Hastings. Since the contests are anonymous, all ANR employees as well as the general public, are invited to participate! Other winners and runners up this month were:

2nd Place: "Leah and Rylee Morning Mist" by Brenda Berry
3rd Place: "Ricker Pond Loon" by Cindy Grimes
Runners Up: Boriqua Rebel (3 photos); Cindy Grimes, Steve LaMonda, Blaine Hastings, and @aircooled. Congratulations to all of our photographers! Winner's photos and runners up can be viewed here, and all 30 finalists are available for viewing here. To view all 90+ images submitted this month, click here.
Fun Facts:
  
5 Little Known Facts About Vermont's Natural Resources
Vermont's State Flower
1. Caledonia and Essex counties are the most forested in the state, with 82% and 94% forest cover, respectively.
2. Wildlife biologists estimate that as many as five out of six deer can die during a hard winter in Vermont
3. Vermont's state flower, the red clover, and its state insect, the honey bee, are both non-native species that originated in other countries. The state bird (hermit thrush) is a summer resident, and like other summer residents, heads south when the temperatures drop.
4. Vermont forests provide wood for approximately 10% of electrical and heating use in the state.
5. All 16 species of earthworms in Vermont are non-native. In Vermont's forests, they are considered a keystone species, meaning that their presence disproportionately affects both the environment they live in, and other species that share it. The presence of earthworms affects both which tree and plant species germinate, and the level of carbon, in the forest soil.
Did You Hear?
  
News Worth Mentioning
Free Online Certification for Vermont Heavy Duty Diesel Vehicle Operators and Fleet Managers

Under a grant from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, the American Lung Association has partnered with the University of Vermont Certification for Sustainable Transportation to launch Vermont Idle Free Fleets, a free online training and certification for heavy duty vehicle operators and fleet managers about the benefits of idling reduction. This self-paced online training is tailored specifically for heavy duty commercial fleet managers and drivers as well as school transportation managers and school bus drivers. 

The training and certification, which takes about 40 minutes to complete, will help drivers learn about the environmental, economic and health impacts of idling reduction. To learn more, please visit our website here. Alternately, contact: 
  • University of Vermont Certification for Sustainable Transportation: team@erating.org
  • American Lung Association: 802-876-6860; or
  • Vermont Air Quality and Climate Division: 802-828-1288
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Forests for the People: The Return of the Town Forest Summit 
 
Saturday September 27, 2014
Barre Town Middle and Elementary School

If you are helping your town acquire or manage a town forest, or if you are interested in learning more about town forests in Vermont, plan for a full day of celebration, sharing and networking on town forests in September! Hear stories from town forests around Vermont, share experiences and ideas on the many issues communities face when managing town forests, and learn about resources and organizations available to assist your town in acquiring new or managing existing town forests. Registration is now open at: http://www.uvm.edu/extension/environment/news-events/?Page=town-forest-summit.html

For more information please contact Kate Forrer at UVM Extension at 802-223-2389 x210, or email katherine.forrer@uvm.edu

Event Partners: 
Northeastern States Research Cooperative, Northern Forest Center, Trust for Public Land, University of Vermont Environmental Program, UVM Extension, UVM Historic Preservation Program, Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation, and Vermont Land Trust
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90% of Transfer Stations Achieve Compliance with First Wave of Universal Recycling Law: 90% of transfer stations in Vermont have successfully complied with the Universal Recycling mandate that requires them to take specified recyclables at no separate fee. This is a significant milestone for transfer stations and for Vermont and sets a fantastic trajectory to implementing the Universal Recycling Law. Congratulations to all who have successfully met the requirement! The remaining facilities (fewer than 20 statewide) are being contacted directly and ANR is working with them to attain swift voluntary compliance.
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Waste Management Staff Touring VTDOC Prisons to Assist in Implementation of Universal Recycling: Staff from the Dept. of Environmental Conservation's Waste Management Program have been touring Vermont's prisons, working with representatives at each facility to help them comply with the state's new composting and recycling laws for institutional facilities. The efforts have been collaborative, with the Vermont Dept. of Corrections, Vermont Buildings and General Services, local solid waste management entities, commercial haulers and composters all contributing to set the programs in motion. If your organization needs assistance implementing Universal Recycling, contact the DEC Waste Management program at 802-828-1138.
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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 |
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