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Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories

State Funding Programs Vermont's Funding Programs


Contacts:
Phil Benedict
phil@agr. state.vt.us

Jeff Cook
cookie@agr. state.vt.us
Vermont Department of Agriculture
Food and Markets
802-828-2431

Agricultural BMP cost-share program

In 1996 the Vermont legislature created a program that provides financial assistance to Vermont farmers in support of voluntary implementation of BMPs on farms. This program has provided a unique opportunity to combine state funds with federal USDA funds on many projects, thereby reducing the farmer's share of project costs to as little as 15 percent. Since the program's inception, the legislature has gradually increased annual funding levels from $250,000 to the current $1.2 million. In total, $3.9 million has now been earmarked for this program, with $2.7 million committed to build 737 BMP projects on 388 farms. This year's fiscal year 2001 allocation of $1.2 million is currently being committed to farm projects. The most common BMPs funded through the program to date have been systems to store manure, manage barnyard runoff, and treat milkhouse effluent. Using a phosphorus crediting procedure for each BMP, the state estimates that the practices funded thus far will reduce annual phosphorus loading to watercourses by about 31,900 pounds. The loading estimates provide one means for the state to track progress toward phosphorus reduction goals in key water bodies such as Lake Champlain.

The Vermont Department of Agriculture, Food and Markets administers the program in close coordination with USDA cost-share programs. BMP systems eligible for state cost-share dollars must meet design standards and specifications established by the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. A system must be operated and maintained for its design life (typically at least 10 years) according to a plan that includes strict provisions for nutrient management and system upkeep. 

 


Contact:
Susan Warren
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
802-241-3794
susan.warren@ anrmail. anr.state.vt.us
Vermont Better Backroads Program

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation initiated a small grants program for cor-recting erosion and drainage problems along the state's backroads in 1997 using a small amount (about $20,000) of section 319 funding. Approximately 81 percent of Vermont's road miles are maintained by municipalities, and most of these roads are gravel roads. The goal of Vermont's Better Backroads Program is to promote the use of erosion control and maintenance techniques that save money while protecting and enhancing Vermont's lakes and streams. The program has been so successful that the Vermont General Assembly voted to more than triple its size in 1999 by adding $48,000 in state appropriations. Grants are awarded to towns and local organizations for erosion control measures not already required by town, state, or federal regulations. The 20 projects funded this year range from the installation of rock-lined ditches and diversion berms to culvert repairs and streambank stabilization. A portion of the funds is made available for road inventories, problem prioritizing, and capital budget planning to incorporate erosion control into ongoing town road maintenance.

 


Contact:
Susan Warren
Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
802-241-3794
susan.warren@ anrmail. anr.state.vt.us
Vermont Watershed Fund

The Vermont Watershed Fund was established with funds from the sale of a special conservation license plate, authorized by the state legislature in 1996. The plates first became available in April 1997, and more than 9,000 were sold by fall 1999. Revenues for projects supported by the fund are raised by an additional $20 per year motor vehicle registration fee for each plate. The proceeds from plate sales are divided between the Vermont Watershed Management Fund and the Nongame Wildlife Fund.

The Watershed Fund, administered by Vermont's Agency of Natural Resources, supports watershed projects that protect, restore, or enhance Vermont's watershed resources. The funds are granted to community-based watershed organizations through the Vermont Watershed Grants Program. A wide range of projects are eligible for funding, including monitoring, outreach, land acquisition, recreational enhancement, and pollution prevention. A wide range of projects were funded in 1998 and 1999, including mine remediation, lake watershed surveys, river stabilization, and integrated crop management in a small watershed. Funds available for the watershed grants program have grown steadily from $16,000 in 1998 to $45,000 in 2000. Although modest in size, the program already has produced many successful results. It fills a critical gap in statewide funding sources for watershed-based projects.

 

 

Wetlands, Oceans & Watersheds | Watershed Protection


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