July, 2017


NRPC Regional Plan Amended
 
 
On June 28, 2017, the Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) Board of Commissioners adopted an amendment to the 2015 Northwest Regional Plan. The amendment includes a new energy "element" and adoption of the Regional Energy Plan. The amended 2015 Northwest Regional Plan will become effective on August 2, 2017.

Adoption of the regional plan amendment is the culmination of a two-year planning process to develop a Regional Energy Plan. The Regional Energy Plan, originally a pilot project funded through the Vermont Public Service Department, focuses on accomplishing the goals of the State Comprehensive Energy Plan, most notably the goal of having renewable energy sources provide 90% of the state's total energy demand by 2050. The Regional Energy Plan contains an analysis of current energy use, targets for future energy use, and strategies for reaching future energy use targets. It also includes a mapping effort that will help guide the future siting of renewable energy facilities in the region. Public input was sought continually through the development of the Regional Energy Plan.

The amendment to the Northwest Regional Plan, and the Regional Energy Plan, were both written to meet the Energy Planning Standards developed by the Vermont Department of Public Service. Meeting the Energy Planning Standards will enable NRPC and the Northwest Regional Plan to be considered under a higher regulatory standard by the Vermont Public Utilities Commission (formerly the Vermont Public Service Board) during permit proceedings for energy generation facilities. This means that NRPC will have a greater "say" in where solar and wind facilities should be located in the region.

NRPC has submitted the Northwest Regional Plan to the Vermont Department of Public Service for an "affirmative determination of energy compliance." Receiving this "determination" means that the Department of Public Service has found that the Northwest Regional Plan meets the Energy Planning Standards.

Bob Buermann, NRPC Chair, states "we are honored to have this opportunity to develop our regional plan and show that local involvement can have a positive impact in achieving Vermont's energy goals."

If you have any questions please contact Taylor Newton by email at (802) 524-5958. 
 
 


 
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.





Measuring the Impact of Stormwater Runoff
 
NRPC is making strides on educating homeowners about stormwater runoff. Stormwater is precipitation from rain or snowmelt that is not absorbed into the ground and flows over the landscape. When rain hits impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and buildings it cannot soak into the ground and it becomes runoff.
 
On June 1 staff walked homeowners that attended the Take a Stake in the Lake event through a process to calculate the amount of stormwater runoff created from a single property. How much runoff are we talking if you scale this up to the entire community? For reference, every time a 1-inch rainstorm hits the City of Burlington it creates 149,000,000 gallons of runoff or enough water to fill 225 Olympic size swimming pools! This event was hosted by the St. Albans Area Watershed Association and the Lake Champlain Sea Grant. Approximately 80 people were in attendance to learn about ways to be active stewards in cleaning and protecting the Lake.

 

On June 28 NRPC held a workshop for homeowners
interested in taking a deeper look at how they can identify and manage stormwater on their property. The workshop titled, M anaging Runoff on your Property: A Do-It-Yourself Site Assessment provided tools for residents to understand where stormwater could collect on their property and the range of practices to manage water. Homeowners that attended the training found the workshop exercises very valuable to put stormwater management in perspective and provide an estimate on how much their property can contribute to the health of the lake and other stormwater issues in St. Albans. One thing many homeowners had not been thinking about was the type of soil they may have at home which will influence the type of solution you can apply to a stormwater issue.

For more information on stormwater outreach and education contact Amanda by email or at (802) 524-5958.
 
 
 


 
Vermont Better Back Roads:
Transportation Field Technicians
 
 
Road erosion contributes greatly to the issue of phosphorus pollution affecting Vermont watersheds. In response, the Department of Environmental Conservation has addressed sources of road erosion through the Vermont Better Back Roads Program. The program seeks to facilitate erosion control, road maintenance practices and water quality improvement techniques throughout Vermont towns.

In order to implement this program, the Northwest Regional Planning Commission has hired two Transportation Field Technicians (Nicole Kim and Ryan Bell) for the summer 2017 season to conduct road erosion and culvert evaluations. These inventories consist of the analysis and data collection of "hydrologically-connected road segments", which include any segments of road that bisect a waterbody of the state, or exist within 100 feet of any body of water, stream, or wetland area.

The Transportation Field Technicians have been driving and walking throughout towns within the Franklin and Grand Isle counties conducting road erosion and culvert evaluations. They measure, evaluate and take photos of individual road segment and culvert conditions while inputting the data into a GIS ArcMap application. The three main criteria for evaluation are: Berm/Shoulder standards, Road Drainage standards, and Crown standards (for gravel roads only), along with other identifying data criteria such as culvert type (drainage or driveway) and erosion type (rill or gully).

Regarding next steps, the NRPC and the Transportation Field Technicians have begun to interpret the completed data for later implementation of road/culvert improvement projects. Based on findings gathered in the field, the field techs will help individual Town Highway Departments identify and prioritize problems areas to address. The collected data will allow towns to narrow down specific areas of interest for future road/culvert projects to combat overall erosion and water quality degradation.

While on the job exploring rural Vermont, the field techs have had the pleasure of speaking with various local homeowners, farmers and town highway department workers. They are able to gain insight into each small community, as well as experience the beauty, wildlife and pristine nature of rural Vermont.




Economic Development
Administration Grant Opportunities
 
 
The Federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) is now accepting applications for the Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance grant program. This program is aimed at the planning and/or construction of public infrastructure that can be linked to economic development and job creation. Possible projects include water/wastewater infrastructure or development of a business incubator space. Public/private partnerships may be eligible under this grant opportunity.
 
The full grant opportunity can be seen here. 
 
The Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance program requires a 1:1 local match. There is a rolling deadline for grant applications. The grant opportunity will be available until all grant funds are expended. The maximum grant available is $3 million.  
 
Regional municipalities may apply for this grant due to NRPC's inclusion in the Northern Vermont Economic Development District (NVEDD). If you would like to know more about this grant opportunity, please contact Catherine Dimitruk by email or at (802) 524-5958.
   



 
All In for Clean Water!
 
On August 21 Governor Phil Scott will issue a proclamation declaring Clean Water Week for the State of Vermont. We invite you to join in celebrating Vermont's waters, and the efforts of businesses, organizations, and communities to protect and restore clean water statewide. Vermonters and visitors alike drink, swim, fish, boat, and admire the scenic beauty of Vermont's waters. Join us and be "All In" for clean water!

 

How to Join the Celebration
Demonstrate your commitment to clean water by:
  • Hosting a local event to help celebrate Clean Water Week
  • Becoming a Clean Water Week Sponsor (it's free and you don't need to host an event to be a sponsor!)
  • Sharing your clean water project or story on social media using #cleanwaterweekvt
To register your Clean Water Week Event and/or register as a Clean Water Week Sponsor, simply complete the online  Clean Water Week Sponsor and Event Registration Form .
 

 

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