FALL 2023


Upcoming Grant Opportunities

WRC Continues Work on Regional Plan Update

Road Foremen Talk Tablets

New Brownfields Funding Available

WRC July Flood Response

Resources for Landowners Along Streams

State Announces Funding through MPG & BMG Programs

Funding Opportunities for Local Transportation Projects

SoVT Get on Board!

Municipal Energy Resilience Program (MERP)

WWH Program Moves to Supporting Residential Wood Heating Systems

Vermont Legal Aid Resources for Accessing Flood Recovery Assistance


Housing Coalition of Southeastern Vermont Addresses Priority Housing Issues

From the Director


WRC Calendar

WRC Commissioners

WRC Executive Board

WRC Contact Us

COVID-19 Resources for Our Towns

COVID-19 Resources for Individuals

Flood Recovery Resources


October 5, 6:00 pm:

Energy Committee

October 9, 4:00 pm:

Transportation Committee

October 9, 2023

WRC offices will be CLOSED in observance of Indigenous Peoples' Day

October 10, 6:00 pm:

Executive Board

October 11, 4:00 pm:

Brownfields Committee

October 25, 12:00 pm:

Finance Committee

October 26, 5:00 pm:

Natural Resources Committee

**All Committee meetings take place virtually via Zoom.

**All meetings are subject to change, please check the website for updates.


AARP Vermont

Winter Placemaking Grant

DEADLINE: October 16, 2023


Vermont Urban and Community Forestry Program

Communities Caring for Canopies

Growing Urban Forests in the Face of Emerald Ash Borers

Urban and Community Forestry Grants

DEADLINE: January 5, 2024


New England Grass Roots Environmental Fund

Seed Grant

DEADLINE: Rolling 


USDA Rural Development 

Community Facility Loans & Grants

Communities with populations of 20,000 or less

DEADLINE: Ongoing (contact USDA office)


Water and Wastewater Loan and Grant Program

Communities with populations of 10,000 or less

DEADLINE: Ongoing (contact USDA office)


Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development

Community Recovery and Revitalization Program



Community Partnership for Neighborhood Development

DEADLINE: October 27, 2023; December 1, 2023; March 1, 2024; May 31, 2024

Downtown and Village Center Tax Credits

DEADLINE: July 3, 2023


Municipal Planning Grants

DEADLINE: Nov 1, 2023


Bylaw Modernization Grants

DEADLINE: Nov 1, 2023


Vermont Community Development Program

Multiple grant opportunities



Better Places



Vermont Natural Resources Council

Small Grants for Smart Growth



Windham Regional Commission

Windham Region Brownfields Reuse Initiative

Brownfields Cleanup Grants & Loans


For additional information about grant possibilities for your projects please contact Susan Westa.

WRC Continues Work on Regional Plan Update


The Windham Regional Commission continues its work on updating the 2014 Windham Regional Plan (readopted in 2021). The Regional Plan provides guidance and direction for change and development in the region, and establishes a policy basis for the WRC’s positions and work program priorities. With the current update process, the Regional Plan will be moving to an entirely web-based format.

WRC Committees have been working with staff since earlier this year to review each chapter in the Regional Plan and identify sections and policies that need to be updated based on emerging issues and challenges and future areas of concern for the towns in our region. WRC anticipates a final draft of the web-based plan will ready for public engagement, review and comment next winter. 

Road Foremen Talk Tablets

Grader. Dump truck. Excavator. iPad. Wait, iPad? Yes, iPads and other types of tablets are becoming one more piece of equipment our road crews are using as part of their job. A dozen Windham Region town highway departments now have one, and WRC hosted road foremen’s meetings in Wilmington and Bellows Falls this summer to talk about using tablets and phones in the field for mapping.

Towns now have to report on work they do to bring their roads into compliance with Vermont’s Municipal Roads General Permit (MRGP). This work is tied to 100-meter road segments the State uses to administer the MRGP, and maps on a tablet helps towns know which road segment they are on. Towns are also taking an active role in managing their culvert inventories, and having a tablet means that towns can access and update that inventory in the field.

We’re excited to see other ways technology can help our road crews. WRC is working on a procedure whereby towns can map hazard trees along roads and keep sign inventories up to date.  With constantly evolving software and apps, and online mapping accounts now available to towns through Vermont’s Regional Planning Commissions and the Agency of Transportation, we’re just beginning to see what’s possible.

New Brownfields Funding Available for Assessment and Cleanup Work

This summer Windham Regional Commission was awarded new brownfields funding, including $500,000 for assessment work and $2 million for cleanup from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This funding is critical to support the work of the Windham Regional Brownfields Reuse Initiative (WRBRI). 

Assessment funding is used to determine if there is contamination by hazardous materials or petroleum products and the extent of that contamination. Once the contamination issues are clearly identified, a cleanup plan is developed. Property owners, public and private, can then apply for cleanup funding to make sites safe for redevelopment. The State of Vermont is also supporting brownfields work with $50,000 for assessment work. Together this funding will enable redevelopment throughout the Windham Region. 

If you are interested in learning more about this funding, please visit our website or contact Susan Westa, Associate Director.

Executive Director
Ext. 106

Associate Director
Ext. 108

Office Manager
Ext. 107

Finance Manager
Ext. 103

Senior Planner
Ext. 112

Regional Transportation Planner
Ext. 109

Transportation Planning Tech
Ext. 114

Ext. 116

Senior Planner
Ext. 110

Senior Planner
Ext. 111

Senior Planner
Ext. 113

What did WRC do in response to the July flooding that impacted our region?

  • Alyssa, Colin and Jeff worked together serving a liaison function between towns and the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC). This role involved collecting damage information by specified times and inputting that data into WebEOC, the SEOC reporting mechanism. Town requests and needs were forwarded to the SEOC for action consideration.
  • Trained staff were at times assigned activation roles in the SEOC for several weeks following the event. These assignments were especially placed on Jeff because the GIS capacity is limited within Vermont Emergency Management. Thanks, Jeff, for your hard work and long weekend hours!
  • We passed along FEMA and State guidelines to towns that assisted in their following necessary rules in debris cleanup and recovery efforts to ensure maximum reimbursement potential.
  • We worked to maximize town Emergency Relief Assistance Fund (ERAF) rates to ensure the highest State match.
  • Alyssa participated in Substantial Damage Estimates related to town flood hazard bylaw implementation on-the-ground with the local zoning official and ANR staff in Londonderry and Weston. Staff continue to be available for technical assistance questions related to the complex permitting needs of rebuilding.
  • Alyssa attended a FEMA applicant briefing to learn the latest Public Assistance applicant process to be able to answer questions of towns in an ongoing capacity.
  • Towns were encouraged and provided information to use in outreach to impacted property owners about the FEMA home buyout program and other cleanup and recovery resources that came out from various state agencies.
  • Chris serves as the liaison between the 11 regional planning commissions and state agencies involved in response and recovery.

To find all of the recovery resources that we’ve compiled click on the “Flood Recovery Resources” button on our homepage.

Resources for Landowners Along Streams

Streams and rivers are an integral part of the Vermont landscape, and many landowners have beautiful riparian habitats running through or alongside their property. As we have seen this past summer, these beautiful habitats can also become dangerous and destructive during high rain events.

With support from the Vermont Community Foundation, WRC was able to work with the Windham County Natural Resources Conservation District to develop resources that landowners can access to learn more about living more easily with streams.

Outreach materials were designed around a variety of stewardship topics, including: Nitrogen runoff, Trees for Streams, Rules for Safe Pesticide Application, Benefits of Reduced Mowing, Erosion, Common Invasive Species, and a variety of resources concerning before and after flood events. These can all be viewed and downloaded here.

In addition to the resources created by the Windham County Natural Resources Conservation District, water quality partners in the region have access to teaching tools, such as a Stream Table and an Enviroscape model that can be used to educate about river processes.

If your municipality is interested in hosting a river walk or indoor presentation on stream dynamics and strategies for lessening the impact of erosion and flooding, contact Windham Regional Commission or the Windham County Natural Resources Conservation District to arrange for an educational program in your community. Programs can be geared toward municipal leaders and staff or more for the general public.

State Announces Funding through Municipal Planning Grant and Bylaw Modernization Grant Programs 

The state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is offering towns funding through two grant programs this year: one for Municipal Planning and one for Bylaw Modernization to expand housing opportunities. Applications for both grant programs are due on November 1st and municipalities can apply to both grants.


The State’s Municipal Planning Grants support a wide range of projects relating to planning and land use, and promotes cooperation, collaboration, and the exchange of

ideas. Eligible projects must have a clear connection to planning and implementation of the municipal plan and will be reviewed for conformance with the regional plan, as well as statewide smart growth principles, planning goals, and land use policies.  


Bylaw Modernization Grants support updates to municipal land use, development, and zoning bylaws in support of pedestrian-oriented development patterns that increase housing choice, affordability, and opportunities in areas planned in accordance with Vermont’s smart growth principles.

Please contact Senior Planner Matt Bachler with questions about the grant programs. The WRC can help towns with their applications, but we request you contact us by Monday, October 2nd if you need assistance as we typically assist multiple towns. 

Funding Opportunities for Local

Transportation Projects this Fall

Fall is fast approaching in Southern Vermont and as the weather cools and the leaves start to change the transportation grants season goes into full swing. Over the next few months several important VTrans funding sources for town projects will begin accepting applications for FY24. These grants include money for culvert replacements, flood resiliency projects, water quality improvements as well as bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. VTrans grants are generally the largest and most easily accessible funding source for infrastructure projects available to Vermont towns. If there are transportation projects in your town that might fit under one of these categories, this Fall is a great chance to apply to the Agency of Transportation for funding.


The VTrans Municipal Highway and Stormwater Mitigation program is the most significant pot of money available from the State of Vermont to fund large-scale ($200K +) stormwater mitigation and/or water quality projects. Some examples of improvements that can be funded by this grant are upsizing culverts, including box culverts, stream bank stabilization, stream flow restoration, infiltration basins as well as salt and sand sheds. The project must have a clear water quality benefit such as reducing the amount of road materials eroding into a stream, preventing future washouts, or addressing repeated flooding. The program can also fund scoping studies to develop plans and cost estimates for particularly difficult or complicated areas. A request for proposals is expected to be announced in the next few weeks, with deadlines most likely in late October or early November. There is a 20% local cash match for all state funding.


If your town has a smaller project that will improve water quality or address areas with repeated flood damage the VTrans Better Roads program is a good option for projects $60,000 or less. This program will pay for culvert replacements and/or upsizing, stone lined ditching, catch basin outlets, and stream bank stabilization among others. It can also provide funding to towns to hire the RPC to complete Road Erosion Inventories as required by the Municipal Roads General Permit. The Better Roads program can be used for work to bring connected segments up to the standard of the MRGP. There is a 20% local match for each grant that can be either cash or in-kind (labor, equipment, materials). It is expected the Better Roads request for applications will be announced in early November with applications due towards the middle of December.


Finally, the Transportation Alternatives program provides funding for a wide range of transportation infrastructure projects. Eligible projects include infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians, water quality and/or flood mitigation improvements including culvert upsizing and stream flow restoration, preservation or rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities, projects to reduce conflict between wildlife and the transportation system, as well as salt and sand sheds. The TAP program will also provide funding for scoping studies for towns to develop plans and cost estimates for especially large or complicated projects. The maximum award last year was for $300,000 and there is a 20% local cash match. We expect the TAP program will be announced in October and applications are generally due in the middle of December.


The Windham Regional Commission has successfully worked with towns on applications to all three of these programs. If you have a project in mind and would like the WRC’s assistance with an application, or you are not sure which grant program is the best fit for your town’s project and would like to discuss options, please reach out to WRC's Transportation Planner, Colin Bratton, cbratton@windhamregional.org, or 802-257-4547 ext 109. The WRC will circulate information on these grants to towns as they are announced in the coming months. If you are interested in working with the RPC on developing an application, please reach out to staff at least one month before the deadline to give us adequate time to pull together all the necessary pieces of a successful application. We look forward to working with your town on these grants this fall. 

Municipal Energy Resilience Program

The MERP program is in full swing with free energy assessments being scheduled for several towns in our region. The free energy assessments are the first step in towns obtaining up to $500,000 in implementation grants for projects recommended in the assessments. These will be improvements to the building thermal envelope, fossil fuel heating system replacement and other energy related upgrades.

Wardsboro will have five buildings assessed in Round 1 of the assessment program. The Library, Firehouse, Town Hall, Town Garage and Town Office buildings will receive the more intensive Level 2 audit which provides access to the MERP loan program if the town chooses to take advantage of that type of funding.

Rockingham will also have a Level 2 assessment performed on the Town Hall building in downtown Rockingham. As the town is putting a lot of resources towards the refurbishment of this structure WRC staff is working closely with town officials to aid those efforts where possible.

Athens will receive Level 2 assessment for the Town Garage and Community Center projects with the aim to pair any MERP funding with other state and federal sources to complete substantial renovations to the garage property. Londonderry will also receive Level 2 assessments on the Town Hall and Town Office building.

As more assessment slots are released by Vermont Buildings and General Services, additional Windham region towns will be contacted by WRC staff to begin assembling documents needed for the assessments to identify necessary projects that will make those town owned buildings more comfortable and efficient.

If there are any questions about the program or if a town is participating or not, please reach out to WRC staff Mike McConnell or Margo Ghia.  

Windham Wood Heat Program Moves to Supporting Residential Wood Heating Systems

WRC has been managing the Windham Wood Heat (WWH) Program since 2017. During that time, the program has provided funding and technical assistance to 13 conversions from fossil fuel heating systems to advanced wood heating systems in municipal buildings, public schools and other public facing institutions. The program is coming to a successful close this year. Original funding came through a settlement agreement between the state and Entergy Vermont Yankee and was to support renewable energy projects in Windham County. The remaining funds in the Windham Wood Heat program will continue to serve residents of Windham County as the WWH program sunsets. 

Windham Regional has approved using the funds to support the Small-Scale Renewable Energy Incentive Program (SSREIP) Advanced Wood Heating System (AWHS). This program is run through the Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) at the State. The WWH funds would be used as a special addition to the program to specifically assist low to moderate income households in switching to advanced wood heating boilers.


Supporting both the original intent of the Vermont Yankee settlement of funding renewable energy projects in Windham County as well as advancing energy equity and justice to our neighbors in Windham County, WRC is excited to partner with the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund on this program. When the Windham County funds become available in late fall, WRC will be promoting the program and the special Windham County adder to the CEDF program.

Vermont Legal Aid Resources for Accessing Flood Recovery Assistance

Vermont Legal Aid has established a very helpful website with information and contacts for those seeking disaster assistance, including the handling of appeals. Here’s the website link: https://vtlawhelp.org/flooding.


Here’s how Vermont Legal Aid describes the website:

On this page we list benefits, recovery programs and common legal problems that can come up after a flooding disaster in Vermont with links to information and help. If you live in Vermont, contact us if you have questions. Tell us if your problem is due to the flooding disaster. We may not be able to directly help you, but we can point you to resources that can help.

Deadlines to note:

  • ASAP — If you have insurance, contact your home/renter/flood/car insurers and file a claim because FEMA will need documentation of what insurance will not cover. Also apply for help from FEMA at the same time.
  • September 29, 2023 — Apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance by this date — for all affected counties.
  • October 12, 2023 — Apply for FEMA assistance by this date. This is a new deadline — but don't wait to apply!
  • October 12, 2023 — If you apply for a SBA loan, apply by this date.
  • 60 days — Appeal any FEMA decision within 60 days of the date on the decision letter.


Join the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) on OCTOBER 20, 2023, for this year’s session of "Municipal Day - When Governments Cooperate", a full day of workshops, technical assistance and poster presentations brought to you by the ANR and allied State Agencies. This year’s event will again be held at National Life in Montpelier.


Registration opens on Thursday, September 14, 2023.

For more information, visit ANR's website.

Housing Coalition of Southeastern Vermont Addresses Priority Housing Issues

The Housing Coalition of Southeastern Vermont is a cross-sector coalition focused on housing and homelessness throughout the region. Members are housing and homeless advocates and service providers, landlords and developers, and planners and economic developers. The Coalition meets monthly to identify needs and share strategies and lessons learned. Recently presenters from throughout the region shared their experiences with municipal housing committees. Developers also shared new and ongoing housing projects.


The goals of the Coalition are to end homelessness, support a healthy housing ecosystem, and prepare the community for future housing development opportunities.

The Coalition supports these community goals by focusing on the following strategic priorities:

  • Increase and improve housing stock 
  • Support housing retention
  • Advocate for housing resources for the community
  • Address gaps in housing services

The Coalition recently developed a new committee structure focused on data, project development, homelessness, and communication. Committees are now developing educational materials, determining data gaps and preparing a survey to better understand the census of unsheltered / unhoused folks.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to join the Coalition, please reach out to Susan Westa at swesta@windhamregional.org or 802-257-4547, ext.108.

From The Director

Preparing for the Next Disaster – Lessons Learned

It’s been an eventful several months, beginning with the first damaging snow followed by flooding just before Christmas (we’ve had flooding the last 3 Christmases). Other heavy, damaging snows followed that one, culminating in one for the record books in March in terms of damage to trees, power infrastructure, and homes. We can also add roads as they never really froze and were difficult if not impossible to plow without plowing up the roadbed itself. We then had a dry period with red flag warnings, and excessive heat warnings. Then the rains began, reminiscent of the pattern that set us up for the disastrous flooding in 2021. July brought the big flood – as damaging or more so than Irene for some, and less so for others – followed by a parade of watched or warned fronts. As of this writing we have dodged the direct impact of two tropical systems. Let’s hope our luck continues but recognize that hope is no basis for preparation and resilience. Having and acting on a plan can help us respond when the time comes and, for the many traumatized by these events, provide some comfort.

In the wake of Irene, I prepared a lessons-learned document that seems to have held up, noting that these are my recommendations – please consult Vermont Emergency Management for more comprehensive, official information. It’s a mix of recommendations for individuals and towns. While events and memories are fresh, there’s no time like the present to plan ahead. 

  1. Individuals and families need their own disaster response plan. Everyone should assume that they may become isolated without assistance for at least 48 to 72 hours. Individuals and families can find preparedness materials here.
  2. Everyone should assume that an event can displace them from their home and/or office with little or no notice. Family members may not be together when an event occurs. Keep essential items, such as medicine, within reach and ready to go where you go. Develop a family communication and “meet up” plan.
  3. Towns need to be prepared to subsist on their own for at least 72 hours. It is possible that towns can become cut off from external aid, including that from adjoining towns, or even parts of their own town. Use your Local Emergency Management Plan (LEMP) to think through the possible risks your town faces, how you’ll respond to those risks, who is best suited to execute necessary tasks, whether supplies or equipment need to be pre-positioned, and how.
  4. If the town says it will provide a service, such as a shelter, make sure the town does, in fact, have the capacity to provide that service. Before an event know what is expected, invest what needs to be invested to make the service viable, seek training and support, and drill, drill, drill.
  5. Do not appoint someone to execute a task who cannot perform it. Persons assigned tasks in the LEMP must knowingly accept that assignment, and be ready, willing and able to execute the task assigned them. They must also not have too many other duties already.
  6. Know the roles. Distribute responsibility. Know Incident Command Structure. Do not assign multiple tasks to a few individuals such as the fire chief and emergency management coordinator. People in command should use volunteers to keep from being overloaded.
  7. Towns need to be prepared to assist one another. Your neighbor may be your closest resource. Consider mutual aid agreements that address not only emergency services, but public works and administration as well.
  8. Town operations may need to move. Just as an event can displace a family, it can displace town operations. This may be caused by flooding, fire, wind/tornado damage, or other event that renders town offices inaccessible or uninhabitable.
  9. The time to locate and save critical records is not during an event. This is true for families and towns. Identify and protect critical documents from fire, water and wind before the event. Have computer records backed up and off site.
  10. State resources support state operations first. State resources may or may not be available to a town in the event of a disaster. Towns should assume they will need to be self-sufficient in their response and recovery.
  11. Neither FEMA nor any other government agency or program will make a town, household or business whole in the event of a disaster. Disaster relief programs are intended to be supplemental.
  12. Insurance policies should be reviewed on an annual basis. Policies change, and town and homeowner need change. Make sure your policies reflect your risks and needs.
  13. If your town participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), everyone, including the town itself, is eligible to buy federal flood insurance. Flood insurance is your recourse if your home or business is damaged by a flood, including loss due to stream/riverbank erosion (where the land washes away along with the home or business that sat upon it). No matter how much flood insurance costs, it is THE source of funding that will help pay off a mortgage, help you rebuild, or otherwise help you get back on your feet. You do not want to leave to chance the availability of federal funds for a post-flood buyout. Flood insurance is relatively cheap outside of the floodplain, and it was outside of the floodplain where a substantial portion of the damage happened.
  14. Plan now for financial resiliency. Towns should maintain a relationship with lenders that allows them to borrow what they need to respond to a disaster. Towns should also create a rainy-day fund in case it rains – and it will.
  15. Inform the public what to expect ahead of time. Take advantage of preparedness weeks to educate your citizens about how they should prepare for and respond during an emergency, and what they can expect from the town. Include material in your town report. It can be difficult to communicate critical information when the power is out. Inform your residents ahead of time.
  16. Be prepared to manage information and keep your communications capacity during an emergency. People want to know what is going on, and if left in the dark will assume nothing is or, worse, rumor will fill the vacuum. Establish a public information plan ahead of time to both provide the public with information they need to know, and to control rumors. Train staff/volunteers for this role. Use existing networks such as churches, service organizations and meals on wheels to get the word you want out. Redundant means of communication are essential (phone, email, notice boards, ham radio, social media). Social media (i.e., Facebook, Twitter) are facts of modern life, and people rely on these networks for information. Use them and monitor them.
Address: 139 Main Street, Suite 505
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