August, 2017


All In for Clean Water! 
 
 
On August 21 Governor Phil Scott will issue a proclamation declaring Clean Water Week for the State of Vermont. Municipalities can highlight their commitment to clean water by hosting an event and sharing their project on social media (#cleanwaterweekvt). Be creative with opportunities to educate the public on the efforts you are taking - provide a tour of your wastewater facility or hold a "coffee break" at a recently installed stormwater project.
 
NRPC's Clean Water Advisory Committee will be celebrating Clean Water Week at their September meeting with a tour of the St. Albans City Wastewater Treatment Plant. Attendees will learn about the measures the City is taking to address phosphorus removal at the plant and strategies to manage the Combined Sewer Overflow system. Contact Amanda Holland by   email or 524-5958 for more details.

St. Albans Bay Park 
   
We invite you to join in celebrating Vermont's waters, and the efforts to protect and restore clean water statewide. Vermonters and visitors alike drink, swim, fish, boat, and admire the scenic beauty of Vermont's waters.
 
On an ongoing basis, the NRPC has been working towards clean water and supporting our municipalities with several programs and opportunities:
 
WATERSHED PLANS
NRPC and all of the RPCs in Vermont work with Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) basin planners with our member municipalities and other partners to prioritize needs and projects in each of the 14 watersheds in the State in Tactical Basin Plans . The most recent plan that was updated in our region was the 2016 Lamoille Tactical Basin Plan and the 2016 Missisquoi Tactical Basin Plan . These plans set the priorities for needs and projects that are funded with the various grant programs discussed below.
 
MUNICIPAL HIGHWAYS
N RPC staff prepared 14 successful VTrans Better Roads Program grant applications - 5 to develope road erosion inventories and 9 for project implementation. NRPC staff is conducting road erosion inventories and culvert evaluations for 11 of our municipalities. Staff will be analyzing the data and working with each municipality to prioritize erosion sites and develop implementation plans.   

BMP Installation of rock-lined ditch 
              
Vermont's RPCs are working on behalf of DEC to administer the Municipal Grants-in-Aid Pilot Program . This program provides funding for municipalities to implement best management practices (BMPs) on municipal roads ahead of the forthcoming State Municipal Roads General Permit (MRGP). Twenty-one Franklin and Grand Isle county municipalities are participating in this program this year. NRPC is also working with DEC to manage the program statewide and ensure consistent and effective results.
 
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION
Vermont's RPCs and Natural Resource Conservation Districts have obtained Clean Water Block Grant funding from DEC to provide capital funding to municipalities for implementing non-transportation projects. More information about this funding program will be coming soon.
 
NRPC assists our municipalities with Ecosystem Restoration Grants provided by DEC. NRPC recently applied for funding to work with Fairfax and Richford on stormwater master plans.
 
NRPC can also assist our municipalities with other grants from VTrans such as the Municipal Highway and Stormwater Mitigation Program and the   Transportation Alternatives Grant Program . Two communities, Fairfield and Highgate, applied for the Municipal Highway and Stormwater Mitigation Program to up-size culverts in Fairfield and stabilize a bank slide in Highgate. If funded, both of these projects will improve water quality by reducing erosion and the amount of sediment reaching our waterways.
 
PUBLIC AWARENESS & EDUCATION
The NRPC helps St. Albans City and St. Albans Town manage their Public Outreach and Involvement campaigns, a requirement as part of their Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit. These efforts are conducted under the brand Franklin County Stormwater Collaborative. See more at www.fcsvt.org . (INSERT LOGO)
 
For a one page overview of most of the grant programs, see this document . Stay tuned to our newsletters for updates on grant opportunities as they become available. We're pleased to offer these and other services, and we recognize and appreciate the work that municipalities are tackling on their own.
 
Keep up the great work! We look forward to celebrating the successes of everyone's water quality work each year.
 
 
 


 
The Franklin Watershed Committee invites you to the their final Summer Shoreline Workshop on Shoreline Erosion
   
Natural Shoreline
Erosion Control Workshop
Date: Wed., August 23, 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Location: Franklin Homestead,
                142 Homestead Dr., Franklin VT
Free and open to the public
Please pre-register here.  
 
Erosion control along our lakeshore is a challenge. How we approach the challenge offers us an opportunity to protect our water  quality and natural habitats. Attend this free workshop on erosion control using traditional methods and state-of-the-art bioengineering techniques.
   
 
Learn about:
  • What causes erosion
  • Assess your shoreline for risks and options
  • Natural erosion control methods to beautify your shore and enhance  water quality
  • Vermont's Shoreland Protection Act
   
Presenters:
Frank Shumway, Certified Erosion Control Contractor, Shumway's Landscaping & Nursery
Linda Patterson, Land Use Planner and Water Quality Educator, Lake Champlain Sea Grant                          
 




Determination of Energy Compliance - Public Hearing

The Vermont Department of Public Service invites the public to a hearing to provide input on the Northwest Regional Plan, including the Northwest Regional Energy Plan. These plans are available for review on the Department's website . The Northwest Regional Planning Commission is seeking a certification from the Department of Public Service that these plans comply with energy planning requirements set forth in statute.
 
The public hearing will be conducted on August 31 at 7:00 pm. The hearing will be held in the St. Albans City Hall Auditorium at 100 North Main Street, St. Albans, Vermont.
 
In addition to the public hearing, the public is encouraged to submit written comments regarding this NRPC's request to the Department via email . Please include NRPC's Determination Request Comments in the subject line.
 
The hearing site is accessible for individuals with disabilities. Please contact Sunni Eriksen regarding accessibility at (802) 828-5871. For any other questions, feel free to contact Taylor Newton at (802) 524-5958 or by email .
 
 
 


 
FY18 Municipal Planning Grants (MPGs) 
   
The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development recently announced the availability of FY18 Municipal Planning Grants (MPGs). This year towns and cities across Vermont have an opportunity to compete for $450,000 in MPG funds this year. Up to $20,000 will be awarded to eligible municipalities chosen through a competitive selection process.
 
A wide range of municipal planning activities are eligible for funding but projects that fit into one of the statewide priorities will have a higher likelihood of receiving grant funds. For FY18, the statewide priorities will focus on plans, bylaws and studies for villages, downtowns, and walkable neighborhoods with an emphasis on housing, and on correcting conflicts and inconsistencies in plans and bylaws.

All applications must be submitted through the Vermont online grants management system. It is recommended that applications be developed off-line first using the Application Instructions and resources available on the Applicant Guidance page.
 
If you are new to MPGs or need a refresher, sign up for a GoToWebinar training on using the system and preparing a competitive MPG application on Tuesday, August 8 from Noon - 12:45. Contact Annina Seiler by email to register. Space is limited.

For additional information, see the FY18 MPG Program Description for details on eligibility, funding and the competitive criteria. Grant applications are due Monday, October 2, 2017 and grants will be awarded by mid-December.

NRPC staff can assist your municipality with developing a project and drafting a grant application. Please contact Taylor Newton by email or at (802) 524-5958.






Take the Vermont Road User Pledge
 
The Vermont Highway Safety Alliance (VHSA) is a network of private and public organizations working together to develop highway safety strategies. Its members are individuals and representatives of private and public organizations who are concerned with the safety of all Vermont road users.  As a group, they volunteer their expertise and resources to create, implement and manage initiatives that reduce major crashes on Vermont highways.  Due to the trending increase in crashes over the past two years, they are doubling their efforts to raise awareness about the four major contributors to crashes and injuries.  These are (1) speeding, (2) distracted and aggressive driving, (3) impaired driving and (4) seat belt use.
 
The VHSA is asking drivers to choose to drive responsibly and safely and invites everyone to take the Vermont Highway Safety Pledge. The more we share the message, the more lives can be saved. The pledge is as follows: "I promise to follow the rules of the road, respect the rights of all road users, and share what I know about road safety with others."
 
 
Take the pledge today at http://vermonthighwaysafety.org/pledge/ 
   



 
The 2017 Button Up Vermont Campaign is Coming    

Are you wondering how your energy committee can motivate your residents to weatherize their homes or how you can take effective action to help the state reach its goal of 90% renewables by 2050?
 
The 2017 Button Up Vermont campaign might just be up your alley. Button Up Vermont is a community-based, public outreach campaign to promote home energy efficiency improvements - particularly helping people reduce heating and cooling costs. Efficiency Vermont, in partnership with a broad group of statewide and regional organizations, is planning to work with at least 25 Vermont communities to engage their residents around thermal efficiency. The campaign will focus on all Vermonters and is designed to provide opportunities for all individuals to take actions - from simple weather stripping to comprehensive home efficiency improvements. 
 
Efficiency Vermont will provide free LEDs to community partners working at the local level to engage residents in the Button Up Vermont campaign. We will also provide educational materials, media and social media support, and guidance and training to local energy committees. In exchange, energy committees will be asked to commit to implementing at least two community engagement activities of their choosing, such as organizing home energy parties, workshops, or tabling events. Residents will be asked to commit to undertaking one or more measures to reduce their heating load and then record their actions on Energy Action Network's Community Energy Dashboard.
 
In addition, Efficiency Vermont and partners will place newspaper, digital, and social ads to reach all Vermonters -with the majority of the paid media aimed toward directly supporting participating communities. Efficiency Vermont will also be reaching out to its network of retail partners to promote weatherization and other energy efficient products during the month of November.
 
Local energy groups will be able to sign up to participate in Button Up Vermont by late August/early September. Look for announcements through VECAN. In the interim, please contact Paul Markowitz at Efficiency Vermont by email or at (802) 540-7608 with questions or more information




Northwest Regional Planning Commission
Address: 75 Fairfield Street, St. Albans, VT 05478
Phone: 802.524.5958      Fax: 802.527.2948     Website: www.nrpcvt.com