The Water Issue                                                                                    Summer 2016
From the Secretary's Desk

Water: for life, livelihood and recreation

Every summer in Vermont our lakes, rivers and ponds take center stage. Vermonters and visitors alike spend lazy days swimming, fishing and boating. With the abundance of opportunities to enjoy the aquatic side of our natural playground, it is easy to take clean water for granted.  
This issue of Ripples highlights the important work we do at ANR to protect Vermont's water resources and to ensure plenty of opportunities for them to be enjoyed. The articles highlight the value of Vermont's wetlands and their role in keeping our water clean, protecting our communities from floods, and providing essential habitat for migratory birds and other species. We provide an update on our response to the public health emergency resulting in contaminated drinking water wells in southern Vermont. For both seasoned boating veterans and those looking to explore Vermont by water for the first time, we highlight some special places for canoe camping to visit this late summer into fall.
In this issue we also introduce Vermont Parks Forever, the foundation for Vermont State Parks designed to foster community stewardship of park and public access opportunities. Check out the link to their website so that you can find out more and get involved. 
Take advantage of these last weeks of summer. I hope you all have a chance to get outside; to get active; and to enjoy Vermont's rivers, lakes and ponds!
The Value of Wetlands

Jim and Lyn Des Marais knew they had something special when they purchased their 1,250-acre farm in Brandon, Vermont in 2013. Fertile hay fields and historic barns of the former dairy farm compliment beautiful views of the nearby Otter Creek. But to USDA-NRCS soil conservation technician Sally Eugair, richer treasures lay cached in the 500 plus acres of wetland on the property. 
Journey By Water This Summer
When the summer days arrive in full swing, we all want to hit the water. Get off the beaten path this summer and try canoe camping--a great way to access remote, quiet camping sites without having to ditch your favorite foods and camping gear. 

Don't have a boat? Try a offer "boat-to-remote" package.

A Vision to Restore a River Corridor
Many hay fields in Vermont were created by draining wetlands before their value was fully understood. A team of Fish & Wildlife staff are bringing them back slowly and strategically along the Barton River---and conserving an entire floodplain for habitat, water quality, and recreation in the process.

PFOA: The Unsuspecting Chemical
It's been five months since the Department of Environmental Conservation first received testing results showing high levels of the chemical PFOA in drinking water wells in North Bennington, and wells continue to be tested. Get the update on what happened and the national discussion on emerging chemicals of concern.

Notes & News
Green Mountain Conservation Camps Celebrates 50 Years
This year, GMCC marks 50 years of connecting young Vermonters with the state's natural resources at its annual summer camps. The Fish & Wildlife Department is also celebrating a new education center and dining hall at the Buck Lake Camp in Woodbury.  During the summer, this building is serving as the main education building for camp activities as well as the wildlife management for educators course. Before and after camp season, the facility will be used for Fish & Wildlife Department events and other meetings about natural resources.

Meet Vermont Parks Forever.

Vermont Parks Forever, the foundation for Vermont State Parks, was created in 2013 to enhance park visitors' experiences through partnership and charitable support. Our goals are ambitions: to improve park nature centers so visitors can better understand and appreciate the outdoors and the health benefits our parks provide; to improve park access for under-served communities; and to create innovative educational opportunities that inspire a new generation of environmentalists. 

In 2016, we raised funds to purchase park passes for 100 of Vermont's foster children and their families and launched our largest project, Natural Connections, to fund the renovation of 6 state park nature centers over the next few years.  It's pretty busy around here!  

To learn more, visit our website  and join our e-news mailing list. You can also stay in touch on  Facebook  and Twitter  @VTParksForever. 

See you in the parks!

Sarah Alberghini-Winters
Executive Director 
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