SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – As the all-volunteer Black River Action Team gears up to collect water quality data for nearly 40 sites around Windsor County this summer, fundraising has begun in earnest to purchase supplies and equipment. One of the resources is the Vermont Watershed Grant Program, which is funded exclusively from sales of the Conservation License Plate. Half of the revenue from the license plate goes to the Watershed Grant Fund with the other half going to the Non-Game Wildlife Fund.
Groups like BRAT can apply for funding to plan, monitor, educate, and implement programs and projects that enhance water quality and aquatic habitat in Vermont. The maximum grant request for educational activities is $5,000; $3,500 for planning, assessment, and monitoring; and $10,000 for boots-on-the-ground implementation projects. In years past, the “pot” of money ranged upward of $100,000. The 2021 “pot” is only $60,000. The projects span the state and a wide range of topics from improving trout habitat to a public canoe portage and $60,000 won’t go far. The only way to increase the amount of funding is for more people to purchase a Conservation License Plate.
The Conservation License Plates are not only attractive, but all proceeds from their purchase directly benefit the Vermont ecosystem we all know and treasure. The grant program supports projects aimed at increasing flood resilience, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, monitoring stream health, and much more. Although grants won’t be awarded until later this spring, as director of BRAT I strongly encourage everyone to learn about the license plate program and consider buying one – it’s a great way to show your support for Vermont’s irreplaceable natural resources!