St. Albans Stream Cleanup
On Sunday, June 27, Franklin County Stormwater organized a stream cleanup in the St. Albans area in partnership with Mill River Brewing BBQ and Smokehouse, The Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean, Planet People, Waste Free Earth, Outdoor Gear Exchange, and Groenfell Meadery. In the end, there were 21 volunteers at the event covering 4 different stream sites in St. Albans City, St. Albans Town, and Georgia.
After the volunteers finished picking up trash, everyone was invited back to Mill River BBQ for food and refreshments as a reward for their great work. In addition, the trash haul was sorted and quantified in Mill River BBQ’s parking lot, which was one of the most interesting aspects to the event. This process showed that volunteers picked up a total of 1,439 (!!) total pieces of trash over a span of 2.5 hours. Of this total, we picked up:
  • 355 cigarette butts
  • 192 food wrappers
  • 156 pieces of plastic sheeting/tape
  • 138 metal cans
  • 76 plastic bags
  • 66 glass bottles
  • 50 pieces of plastic foam
  • 47 plastic lids
  • 45 bait containers
  • 38 plastic takeout containers
  • 33 paper cups
  • 31 plastic bottles
  • 26 plastic straws
... and smaller quantities of many other items, including shoes, car parts, tires, a shopping cart, and even a couch!
I think the most eye-opening part about collecting this data was seeing how much plastic was picked up: about 72% of the grand total! This shows that while we might think of microplastic pollution as a problem for the ocean, it also is a growing problem in Lake Champlain as well.
A heartfelt thank you is in order for all that attended, and we hope to see even more volunteers at future events!

NRPC Welcomes Dean Pierce

NRPC is pleased to welcome Dean Pierce as our new Senior Planner focused on water quality programs. Dean will be implementing the Clean Water Service Provider model in the Missisquoi and Lamoille basins, working with communities on water quality planning and projects and providing technical assistance to communities in water quality, land use and other areas.
Dean is a native of Franklin County and is looking forward to working and spending more time in northwest Vermont. His family owned and operated a 160-head dairy farm--which later came to include one of the area’s first B&Bs--on Morses Line Road in Franklin. He and his partner Kate (the Director of Dining Services at Wake Robin in Shelburne) enjoy vacationing in the area with their German Shepherd Zoe. Dean first took an interest in water quality issues owing to time spent on Lake Carmi and Missisquoi Bay. In graduate school, he worked on a study focused on water quality in St. Albans Bay and on the watercourses and watershed around it. As Dean notes, “I’m excited to pursue this new professional opportunity in an area where I have a strong personal connection.” In his free time, Dean enjoys running, genealogy, and history.  

NRPC Elects New Officers

NRPC elected new officers at the June meeting of the Board of Commissioners. Congratulations to new Chair William Irwin of Bakersfield, and new Vice-Chair Lynn Douglas of Fletcher. Andy Alling of North Hero was elected Secretary and Harold Garrett of Swanton was re-elected as Treasurer. Commissioners and staff shared their appreciation for Kirk Waite of Georgia, who completed his three year term as Chair and led the Board through the challenges of COVID, including the shift to virtual governance. 

2021 Municipal Planning Grants
Do you have the information, tools and resources you need to make the place you call home better? Do you want to make your city or town more attractive, vibrant, and prosperous? Did you know that Municipal Planning Grants have helped communities just like yours implement town plan recommendations and jump start initiatives to find wastewater solutions, update zoning regulations to increase local housing options, and develop strategic plans to diversify the local economy?
Towns may apply for up to $22,000 and joint applications from several municipalities (a consortium) may apply for up to $35,000.  A wide range of municipal planning and implementation activities are eligible for funding. For this funding year, ACCD has identified four priority areas:
  • COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plans and/or Investment
  • Fair & Affordable Housing Plans and/or Regulations that Implement Enabling Better Places: A Zoning Guide for Vermont Neighborhoods
  • Plans for a NEW Designated Area or Specific-Area Visual/Physical Master Planning for a Designated Area
  • Innovative Statewide Model Project
Please review the Program Description for eligibility requirements
Application Deadline: November 1, 2021 @ 6:00 p.m. 
If you would like assistance preparing a grant application or advice about a project idea, please contact Emily Klofft or Greta Brunswick. Questions about the Municipal Planning Grants can also be directed to Jennifer Lavoie or at 828-1948.

State Updates Comprehensive Energy Plan
The State of Vermont is updating its Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP), a statewide planning document that examines the state’s progress towards its energy goals. The CEP will inform future updates to the Northwest Regional Energy Plan and local energy plans. On June 2, NRPC presented at the Northern Vermont regional forum to address key energy issues, challenges and considerations in the region to be considered in the next CEP update. Key considerations discussed for the Northwest Region included managing grid constraints, supporting strategic electrification, and the importance of collaboration. A recording of the Northern regional forum presentation can be found here. The Northwest Regional Energy Plan, and more information about local energy planning can be found here.

A draft CEP is expected to be released in the summer of 2021. Written comments to the State can be addressed to Questions about local and regional energy planning can be directed to Linda Blasch or Emily Klofft.

VT Outdoor Recreation Grants Available!
Letters of Interest Due August 27, 2021
Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative has grant funds available for recreation projects. Eligible projects will:
  • Grow outdoor recreation-related businesses.
  • Increase participation in outdoor recreation activities among all demographics.
  • Strengthen the quality and extent of outdoor recreation resources.
  • Increase stewardship of outdoor recreation resources and environmental quality.
  • Promote and enjoy the health and wellness benefits of outdoor recreation.
Recognizing the wonderful variety and complexity of Vermont’s existing outdoor recreation infrastructure, assets, and use, outdoor recreation is defined by VOREC and the community grant program as leisure, sport and therapeutic recreation activities pursued outdoors, mainly in a natural setting. Outdoor Recreation encompasses a wide scope of potential activities. 

This program funded a grant managed by NRPC to install wayfinding signs for the Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail. Keep an eye out for the new signs this summer!

For a list of eligible projects, information on applying and more details about the grant please go here.

Northern Border Regional Commission Announces
2021 Regional Forest Economy Partnership Grant Round
The Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) is pleased to announce the 2021 Regional Forest Economy Partnership (RFEP) grant application opportunity. Eligible organizations, which include nonprofit and governmental entities (state, local & Indian tribes), will be able to access grant application details (available via NBRC’s website,

Potential applicants must express interest through Letters of Interest, which must be submitted by September 10, 2021 at 5:00p.m. Letters of Interest will be evaluated by a 9 member Advisory Board, consisting of representatives from each of the four NBRC states. The Advisory Board will determine which applicants will be invited to submit a full application, which will be due November 12, with anticipation of awards in January, 2022.
  • Eligibility is the same as for our flagship “SEID” program: Nonprofits, governmental entities & instrumentalities of government, Indian Tribes
  • Maximum award of $1 Million, and a minimum award of $250,000.
  • Applicants have until September 10, 2021 to submit a letter of interest. LOIs are required to be submitted under RFEP, and applications are by invitation only
  • A link to our press release, which summarizes the investment goals for this program
  • A link to the application manual and other details
The press release and the application manual both provide contact information as well as the contact information for Program Managers in each state. 

In the Field with Abenaki Land Link and Chief Don Stevens

Join Chief Don Stevens and the Healthy Roots Collaborative in the field at West Farm to explore the Abenaki Land Link Crops. Chief Stevens will talk about the food sovereignty work of the Nulhegan along with the historical significance of the three sisters crops and the story of Mother Corn. Attendants will also learn about seed saving and enjoy snacks from the farm. This event is a partnership of Abenaki Land Link, Northwest Healthy Roots Collaborative, and West Farm and is made possible with support from the VT Land Trust.

Date & Time: Sunday, August 15th, 10am to Noon
Location: 497 West Farm Road, Cambridge, VT 05464
Registration: FREE Eventbrite Link

The Abenaki Land Link project provides indigenous seeds, graciously donated by the Nulhegan Band of Coosuk, to gardeners, homesteaders, and farmers around Vermont who, as current stewards of land once stewarded by Abenaki people, dedicate land and time to grow and harvest food for Abenaki citizens. The project is working to build a more resilient food system that doesn't discriminate or leave folks behind while taking long-overdue steps toward repairing relationships among those who call this land home. 

Special FY2022 Funding for Bylaw Modernization

Local and statewide leaders increasingly recognize the need to grow housing opportunity, and Act 74 of 2021 makes $500,000 available for bylaw modernization.  This one-time State funding will be available to support municipal bylaw modernization amendments in FY22 to expand opportunities for housing, confront the State’s housing crisis, and ready communities for housing investment. This Program will make grants available for this purpose separate from the Municipal Planning Grant. Details for this special funding are in development and will be announced as soon as possible. Stay tuned!

Healthy Roots 2020 Annual Report

2020 was surely a year. Our community faced stresses never imagined, resulting in rising food insecurity and an incredible community response. As the only program with an established distribution route for charitable foods, Healthy Roots played a vital role in ensuring access to healthy, local food - across our region. With our established gleaning program and new statewide programs like Farmers to Families Food Boxes and Everyone Eats, we expanded the amount and selection of food moved throughout our region and introduced new communities to our food access work. Also, as farms and farmers markets faced new challenges, we supported online ordering systems and established new markets for our farms. For more information on what the Northwest Healthy Roots Collaborative accomplished in 2020, please take a look at our just released 2020 Annual Report. Thank you to all Northwest Regional Planning Commission, our partners, funders, and our amazing advisory committee for supporting us in making 2020 an impactful year.

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