June, 2017

New Municipal Roads Grants-in-Aid Pilot Project  
Vermont's regional planning commissions and the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are pleased to invite municipalities to sign up for a new Municipal Roads Grants-in-Aid Pilot Project. DEC's Clean Water Initiative Program is offering approximately $2.1 million to support this pilot project. The funding will help Vermont achieve its water quality goals by aiding municipalities in implementing best management practices on municipal roads. This additional support will help municipalities get a jumpstart on meeting the forthcoming DEC Municipal Roads General Permit requirements .
"The pilot project is a great opportunity for municipalities to become more familiar with the practices necessary to comply with the Municipal Roads General Permit ,"explained Kari Dolan, the DEC Clean Water Initiative Program Manager. "These practices are a win-win; they improve water quality, reduce road maintenance costs, and enhance the ability of roads to with stand storm events, there by saving municipalities money in the long run. "
Northwest Regional Planning Commission sent a letter and information to all municipalities in the region inviting them to participate in this pilot project. The program is voluntary, but in order to participate, municipalities must sign up by July 5, 2017.
Catherine Dimitruk, Executive Director of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission added, "The regional planning commissions across the state are prepared to help municipalities take full advantage of this pilot project. We are available to help municipalities sign up, identify and map project locations, select the right practices, secure reimbursement for project construction costs, and report on final project outcomes. "
Practices eligible for funding under this pilot project include drainage ditch installation and upgrades, turnouts, removal of grader berms, and stabilization of drainage culverts and catch basin outlets, and on Class 4 roads,stabilization of gully erosion. The pilot project targets those sections of roads that are "hydrologically -connected "- road segments that are next to or cross streams, wetlands, lakes, or ponds. The amount off unding awarded to each participating municipality will be based on their number of hydrologically connected road miles.
Vermont's Clean Water Initiative is an exciting and growing collaboration among municipalities,state agencies, local and regional partners, farmers, businesses, and the public to safeguard the public's access to clean and safe water throughout the state.
For more information about this new program please contact Northwest Regional Planning Commission, or check the website.

FEMA and USGS Kickoff
Missisquoi River Watershed Floodplain Project 
On April 26, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) kicked off a project to update the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for communities located in the Missiquoi River watershed. This multi-year project could have  substantial effect upon the boundaries of the 100-year floodplain within the watershed. In turn, this could have far-reaching ramifications for private property owners in the region, particularly in regards to the mandatory purchase requirement for flood insurance.

Generally, financial institutions require mortgagees with a federally-back mortgage, and with structures located in the 100-year floodplain, to purchase flood insurance. The remapping effort by FEMA and USGS may result in some structures being removed from the 100-year floodplain. However, it may also result in additional structures in the region being placed into the 100-year floodplain. This could result in situations where additional property owners in the region may be required to buy flood insurance.

The first round of "working maps" will be released by FEMA and USGS in 2018. This will be followed by a round of outreach to both municipal officials and private property owners that may be impacted by proposed map changes. "Preliminary maps" will be released in late May 2019 and "final" maps will be released for adoption by municipalities in 2020.

At present, FEMA and USGS are asking municipal officials to help gather and submit the following information by June 16, 2017:
  1. A "marked up" a copy of your municipalities' map(s) with any information you might have on inaccuracies on the current effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps or with new data regarding bridges, culverts, dams, development, etc. that might impact the floodplain since the river reach was last studied or redelineated.
  2. Any data or information that may assist FEMA or USGS with this project, including high-water mark data.
  3. A completed Discovery Questionnaire (located in link below).
More information about the kickoff meeting on Wednesday, April 26 can be found here.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact Taylor Newton at NRPC or Scott Olson at the USGS or by phone at (603) 226-7815.

DEC Ecosystem Restoration Program
Ecosystem Restoration Grants support the design and construction of water pollution abatement and control projects that target nonpoint sources of pollution. See the DEC Watershed Projects Database for possible projects. All other projects included in applications must be added to the database prior to the application deadline. Proposed projects must be discussed with your regional Basin Planner.

* Release date: May 23
* Application due date: July 6

A detailed application manual provides step-by-step instructions to apply for funding.

Ecosystem Restoration Grant applicants are also encouraged to attend a webinar being offered on Tuesday, June 13, 11:00 am - 12:30 pm, which will essentially be a question and answer session for grant applicants.

Attend the webinar in person in Montpelier (limited seating is available) or online via Skype for Business, here. The webinars will also be recorded and posted on the Clean Water Initiative YouTube page here.

Applications are due on Thursday, July 6. For more information and to RSVP if attending in person, please contact Marli Rupe or by phone at (802) 490-6171.

2017 VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian
Program Grant Opportunity 
The Agency of Transportation is now soliciting applications for projects this year through the Bicycle and Pedestrian Program. The intent of the VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Program is to improve access and safety for bicyclists and/or pedestrians through the planning, design and construction of infrastructure projects.

For a copy of the VTrans 2017 Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Guide and Application and other supporting materials, visit the VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian program website. Applications must be received by 1:00 pm, Friday July 14, 2017.

Applications will be accepted for Scoping studies (project feasibility), Large-scale design/construction projects and small-scale, state funded, projects.

Applicants to the Bike/Ped Program are strongly encouraged to attend one of two workshops to learn about the details of the program. The workshops are being offered in a webinar format. Applicants must have an internet connection to participate in the training. The dates and times are:

* Tuesday May 16, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM and
* Thursday, May 18, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

You must log on to this webpage to participate in the trainings (multiple people can view a training, but one person must sign in online. Reservations are not required.

For any questions about this year's Bicycle and Pedestrian program or other VTrans initiatives related to bicycling and walking, contact Jon Kaplan, VTrans Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Manager, or by phone at (802) 828-0059.

Kids Fest 2017  
Kids Fest 2017 took place on June 2, in Taylor Park in St. Albans, hosted by The Family Center: The Parent Child Center of Northwestern Counseling & Support Services. The Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail participated in the event along with approximately 25 other community partners throughout Franklin and Grand Isle Counties. There were many families that came out for this fun, family-friendly afternoon despite the rain showers! There was a StoryWalk, "Race the Docs" obstacle course, bouncy house, face painting, live music and so many other activities. Our counties have so many wonderful resources for families to reach out to.  
The Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail along with The Great Outdoors store in Enosburgh gave away a kids bike and helmet and the lucky winner was Sophia, age 5, from St. Albans. Congratulations and we hope to see you on the Trail! Thanks to The Family Center: The Parent Child Center of Northwestern Counseling & Support Services for hosting a wonderful event for families.


Take a Stake in Our Lake Event 
On Thursday, June 1, NRPC participated in the "Take a Stake in Our Lake" event hosted by the St. Albans Area Watershed Association. The evening brought together 15 organizations and programs to share tips and answer questions from community members at the St. Albans Bay Town Park. This was a great opportunity for homeowners to learn about actions they can take to improve water quality at home.  NRPC was promoting the Franklin County Stormwater Collaborative, whose mission is to educate and encourage residents to get personally involved in reducing stormwater pollution. Amanda Holland gave a short presentation on becoming stormwater aware and understanding the collective impact of stormwater runoff in the community. The action Amanda encouraged participants to take was, "Take a walk around your property during the next rainfall and see where your water goes".  Visit www.fcsvt.org to learn more about the Collaborative.


For more information click here.


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