Outreach Edition           October 2015
In This Issue
From the Secretary's Desk: 
 
Respect. Protect. EnjoyThis is the motto of the Agency of Natural Resources.  You can see it on our website , at the bottom of our signature pages and on our letterhead and cards. You can also see it reflected in the work we do every day in the office and in the field. Our environmental scientists and engineers, our lawyers and permit specialists, our technical staff, outreach coordinators, and administrators all contribute to this mission.  We show respect for nature by devoting time and effort to learn about the many complex process es that govern the natural world, and by working to better understand our impact on them. We protect nature through our regulatory programs, our outreach and education, and through our conservation work. We encourage Vermonters to enjoy nature by engaging in what's important to them, whether through hunting, fishing, wildlife watching, camping, hiking, swimming, biking, or paddling. This month's newsletter highlights some of the work and the people who, with your help, bring this motto to life.
  
ECO AmeriCorps: Charting New Territory in the Agency
By Carey Hengstenberg and Linnea Myers, Dept of Environmental Conservation
 
Scarcely one year ago, key members of the Department of Environmental Conservation sat together to envision a state-led service corps focused on environmental conservation. After expedited research on similar programs in other states, the team applied in January for federal funding to start its own. In June, they learned that the funding was approved, and by September, the program was filled to capacity. Last month, the new 'ECO AmeriCorps' welcomed 20 members into a year of service, each one of whom will work to improve water quality through unique projects with professional partners.  Read more about ECO AmeriCorps...
  
Updating the Endangered Species Act
By Tom Rogers, Fish & Wildlife Department
 
Every October, Fish & Wildlife's Steve Parren and a team of volunteers head to the beaches of Lake Champlain for some fall cleaning. Although some standard debris and weed removal fall into their day's work, the team is there for a unique, and actually threatened, reason. The spiny softshell turtle, a state-threatened species since 1987, requires undeveloped lakeshore habitat for nesting. Increased waterfront activity, armoring, and construction has forced these turtles to lay the majority of their eggs in only a few select beaches on the lake. So while volunteers clear debris and rearrange rocks, they also look for treasure -- turtle hatchlings.

While the turtles themselves receive protection, their known nesting beaches on Lake Champlain do not. A new twist on the Vermont Endangered Species Law aims to change that.  Read more about the Endangered Species Law...
  
Fifty Years of Funding Outdoor Recreation
By Craig Whipple, Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation
Fifty years ago, a new federal law changed the landscape of local, state and federal parks and outdoor recreation spaces across the United States... forever. Those involved in managing public parks are intimately familiar with its programs. Most others do not know of it directly. But millions of people have enriched their lives by playing, relaxing, and exploring outdoor places protected with its help. The law, called the Land and Water Conservation Fund Act (LWCF), has provided funds to almost every state and local public park across the country. 

LWCF has now granted more than $48 million in projects and protected 27,000 acres of land for outdoor recreation in Vermont alone. This year, the entire LWCF program is up for reauthorization in Congress, causing outcries in the news and social media from those who fear that federal funding for outdoor recreation has dried up.  Read more about the Land and Water Conservation Fund...
  
ANR Taps into Service-Learning Courses at UVM
By Margaret Burke, Community-Based Learning Coordinator
University of Vermont
 
Since the fall of 2014, the Agency of Natural Resources has been harvesting an almost inexhaustible source of energy - student energy. In partnership with the University of Vermont's Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources (RSENR), ANR is building hands-on opportunities for students wanting to work closely with its staff on urgent conservation, land management, and water quality projects. In turn, ANR reaps the benefits of the research, project development, outreach and enthusiasm that the students bring to the state's environmental initiatives.   Read more about ANR's partnership with UVM...
  
Spotlight on Jen Duggan, General Cousel
By Joanne Garton, Agency of Natural Resources
 
Long before General Counsel Jen Duggan learned the words "litigation", "enforcement",  or "rulemaking", she knew the meaning of two others: "Cancer Alley". Born in south Louisiana, Duggan regularly travelled the route from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to visit family as a young girl. The infamous stretch of the Mississippi River is lined with over 100 industrial and chemical plants and oil refineries, a sight that left a big impression during her formative years. Said Duggan, "Although it took me years to articulate it, this place helped me understand the connections between our physical and mental health and a healthy environment. Looking back, I know these experiences as a little girl drove me to environmental law."       

Duggan, a Vermont Law School graduate, began her position as General Counsel this past March.  Read more about Jen Duggan...
  
Keeping Safe Drinking Water Flowing
By Jim Siriano, Department of Environmental Conservation
 
When we turn on a tap in our home or business, we expect safe water to flow from the pipe. And for most Vermonters it does, thanks to our municipal drinking water systems - systems that are vital to the health, safety, and economies of our communities. 

Leaking pipe
But we should not take safe water for granted.  Municipalities face significant challenges as they try to manage and replace aging infrastructure while continuing to meet their customers' expectations. Asset Management Programs can help.
  
LaPlatte Headwaters Initiative: Uniting Community, Non-Profits and Government to Conserve the Former Bissonette Farm
By Jane Lazorchak, Fish & Wildlife Department
 
Located just south of Hinesburg Village, the Bissonette Farm is a classic Vermont landscape of open fields, rolling wooded hills, and stunning Green Mountain views. As the largest farm in this part of town, it provides a pastoral gateway to the more densely settled village district. In addition to its beautiful scenery, the farm's unique combination of cultural, ecological, and agricultural values make it a highly significant landscape for the people of Hinesburg and neighboring communities.

The Hinesburg Land Trust, in partnership with the Trust for Public Land, the Vermont Land Trust and the Agency of Natural Resources, conserved the Bissonette Farm in 2007. Almost a decade later, this multi-faceted project is worth recognizing because of its significance to the area and because it touches on so many of the priorities of the Agency - clean water, forest connectivity and endangered species conservation.  Read more about cooperative conservation in Hinesburg...
  
Become Air Aware
By Brian Woods, Department of Environmental Conservation
 
Tourists are arriving in droves to marvel at Vermont's autumn leaves, taking in scenic views like breaths of fresh air. Like its leaves, Vermont's air is considered to be among the best in the nation, with the vast majority of the year's air quality forecasts ranked as "good" throughout state. 

But as we move into heating season, fine particle emissions from furnaces and boilers increase, becoming trapped in cold valleys. This worsens local air quality and causes potential health problems.

How would you know what the air quality forecast is in your area? There's an app for that! 
  
Introducing the Vermont Clean Water Initiative Program
By Madeline Cotter, Department of Environmental Conservation
 
DEC is pleased to announce a transformation of the Ecosystem Restoration Program into the new Vermont Clean Water Initiative Program. The change reflects a re-invigorated commitment to collaborate with municipalities, state agencies, local and regional partners, farmers, businesses and the public to take action to safeguard clean water across the state.  Read more about protecting Vermont's waterways...
Visit Our New Web Page!
The Agency of Natural Resources has a new look at 
anr.vermont.gov.

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