New ‘Clean Water’ Website

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Watershed Management Division has launched a new website, Clean Water Vermont, with helpful fact sheets, presentations, and frequently asked questions. The new Vermont Clean Water Initiative – Clean Water Vermont — reflects an exciting and growing collaboration among municipalities, State agencies, local and regional partners, farmers, businesses, and the public to take action that will safeguard the public’s access to clean and safe water throughout the State. It includes the following elements:

– Installing smart practices on farms;

– Reducing polluted runoff from developed lands, including highways and roads;

– Using our “natural infrastructure” – river corridors, floodplains, wetlands and forests– to reduce storm water pollution and erosion and build resilience; and

– Supporting municipalities and farmers in meeting our clean water goals.

As part of the new Clean Water Initiative, the Clean Water Fund will allocate money to projects around the State with a specific focus on water quality.

Public Meetings on New Required Agricultural Practices

Act 64 amended several provisions regarding agricultural water quality. The “accepted agricultural practices” are renamed the “required agricultural practices (RAPs).” The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets has been charged with revising the RAPs by rule by July 1, 2016. The revised RAPs have been changed to include requirements for: small farm certification, nutrient storage, soil health, buffer zones, livestock exclusion, nutrient management, and tile drainage.

The Agency is seeking input and comment on the Draft RAPs. It is the Agency’s intent to develop rules and programs that will eliminate adverse impacts to water quality from agricultural operations, as well as be informative, enforceable and appropriate.  Successful implementation of the RAPs will assist in Vermont’s mission to meet the goals of Act 64 and the TMDL for Phosphorus Plan for Lake Champlain.

For a complete list of public meetings where the Agency will present the Draft RAPs with a comment period to follow, go to the Agency’s webpage:

http://agriculture.vermont.gov/water-quality/news-events/public-meetings

A direct download link for the RAPs can be found at:

http://agriculture.vermont.gov/sites/ag/files/pdf/water_quality/VAAFM-Draft-RAP.pdf

Water Works: VPA Fall Conference

The Vermont Planners Association presents an overview of current water quality issues, innovation in planning, and best practices. This day-long workshop will focus on big-picture water quality planning in the morning and best practices in the afternoon.  The conference will take place Friday December 11, 2015 in St. Albans.

Big picture planning will include presentations on more rural watershed based clean water initiatives as well as a more urban holistic water quality plan. An update will be provided on current watershed planning efforts the State has initiated with regional planning commissions. The VPA annual meeting will occur prior to lunch to facilitate the election of officers to update membership on the implementation of the Strategic Plan. An a la carte lunch will be provided. A briefing on Act 64 and the State’s efforts to date will be provided following lunch.

The afternoon will focus on best practices for improving water quality and will include low impact development standards, green infrastructure, and stormwater utilities. Lessons learned from different implementation techniques will be shared and a walking tour of green infrastructure will be provided. The program will conclude with the adjournment to a reception at the 14th Star Brewery.

Agenda details and Registration are available on-line at: www.tinyurl.com/vpa2015.  AICP credits are pending.

Strong Communities, Better Connections Grants Announced

 

The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) and the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) are pleased to announce the second round of the Strong Communities, Better Connections (SCBC) Grant Program, aimed at supporting vibrant community centers and increasing town and regional transportation options. Annually, the program grants approximately $200,000 in planning funds to help cities and towns (outside of Chittenden County) build more livable, walkable and strong communities.  Grant Applications are due January 15, 2016 with all applicants required to participate in a pre-application meeting with SCBC Program Managers prior to December 18, 2015.

Last year’s pilot round of the SCBC Grant Program funded three projects that are in progress: Mad River Valley Towns (Warren, Waitsfield) are developing a multi-town plan for walking, biking and active recreation in the valley; the Towns of Rutland and West Rutland are developing a plan to create and enhance opportunities to bike, walk, live and work along the US Route 4 corridor; and the City of Vergennes is developing a master plan to improve the biking and walking connections between the downtown and Basin Harbor.

For more information, contact Jackie Cassino, at 802-272-2368 or Richard Amore at 802-828-5229 and visit the grant website http://vtransplanning.vermont.gov/programs/scbc

Waterbury, VT River Corridor Plan Presentation

In the summer of 2014 an assessment of the rivers and streams in Waterbury, VT was conducted by CVRPC with the assistance of Bear Creek Environmental.  This field assessment looked at the conditions of rivers and streams in order to understand the forces impacting them and to determine how to best protect and restore the river.  The results of this work have been finalized and a report drafted.   

We invite you to a presentation of this report and the results on November 9th at 6:30 pm in the Thatcher Brook Primary School library that is on the second floor of the building.  A draft copy of the report can be viewed at www.centralvtplanning.com  

Thank you!