From the Director, November 2015 - Comprehensive Energy Plan Comments Due November 9th
The Comprehensive Energy Plan is the driver of state energy policy and the implementation of that policy. This is not a plan that gathers dust on a shelf. It's constantly referenced. So if you're interested in the direction the state plans to take us across a broad range of energy issues, you need to be interested in this plan. Public comments are being accepted until November 9th. The plan and other related information is available on the Public Service Department website.
Advanced Wood Pellet Boiler Forum November 16th
Advanced wood pellet boilers are low emission, high efficiency systems that provide much of the convenience of traditional fossil fuel boilers-without the fossil fuels. Heating with locally sourced, sustainably harvested, and renewable wood pellets provides numerous environmental, economic, and social benefits. These boilers come in a wide range of sizes adaptable for residences as well as large commercial operations. The Windham Wood Heat Initiative (WWH) will hold a free public information forum on advanced wood pellet boilers on November 16 from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at the Marlboro College Graduate Center in Brattleboro.
Eight Windham Region Towns Apply for Municipal Planning Grants
Eight region towns developed and submitted applications for state Municipal Planning Grants with WRC assistance. The towns and topics are: Athens to develop its first, approvable, Town Plan; Brookline for a Town Plan update; Dummerston for a Town Plan update, including flood resilience plan; Guilford for consultant assistance with Conservation Commission natural resources inventory; Londonderry for a Town Plan update addressing numerous issues; Newfane for a Town Plan update; Vernon for a Town Plan update for post-VY closure planning update and flood resilience plan; and Windham for Zoning Bylaw update to implement the recently updated Town Plan's recommendations. Click here to view a full list of all the MPG applications that were received.
Agency Of Natural Resources Announces Release of Draft Tactical Basin Plan for the West, Williams and Saxtons Rivers and Connecticut River and Tributaries
The Agency Of Natural Resources has released the draft Tactical Basin Plan for the West, Williams and Saxtons Rivers and Connecticut River and adjacent tributaries (Basins 11 and 13) for public comment.
The Tactical Basin Plan provides an overview of the health of the watersheds and a description of ongoing and future priority steps to restore and protect the quality of its surface waters. What makes this plan "tactical" is the reliance on comprehensive water quality monitoring and assessment information to develop high priority implementation actions and tasks that provide opportunities for all stakeholders in the Basin to pursue technical and financial support for water quality improvement.
Strong Communities, Better Connections Grant Program Applications Due December 18th
The Strong Communities, Better Connections Program (SCBC) is a multiagency partnership to align state and local investments to increase transportation options and build resilience and economic vitality in Vermont's community centers. The SCBC Program supports implementation-focused, municipal planning initiatives that:
- Coordinate land use decisions with transportation investments
- Advance the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Livability Principles;
- Support the State Planning Goals and the VTrans Vision and Strategic Plan Goals.
Guilford Apartments Wins National Award at EPA Brownfields Conference!
The Phoenix Awards Institute, Inc. presented Algiers Village Housing, a 17-unit affordable housing development in Guilford, with an award for outstanding achievement in the redevelopment of a Brownfield site. The award was presented on September 3 in Chicago as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's major national Brownfields conference on environmental revitalization and economic development.
Vt. Economic Resiliency Initiative (VERI) Brattleboro Report Released
Over the past year, the Vermont Economic Resiliency Initiative (VERI) has been working with five communities to examine flood resiliency and look at ways businesses can help prepare for, and quickly recover from, the next disaster. A major product of that work is a recently-released report for Brattleboro, outlining municipal policy and program recommendations, high-priority site-specific projects to improve channel and floodplain, infrastructure, and public safety, and next steps for the community.
Saxtons River Watershed Collaborative Receives $32,000 Grant to Address Flood Resiliency
Flooding is, by far, the most costly and devastating natural disaster that the State of Vermont has experienced in recent history and the Saxtons River is no exception. Significant flood events in the Saxtons River occurred in 1927, 1936, 1938, 1973, 1996 and 2011. Scientists project that the northeast may see an increase in the frequency and intensity of storms, which could result in an increase in flood events. These conditions require that we creatively, collaboratively, and actively explore new ways of addressing flood resiliency..
Connecticut River Bikeway Routes Map Released
Are you looking for suggestions on bike rides in the Tri-State region this summer? The recently-released map of bikeway routes along the Connecticut River Scenic Byway can help you out. The map covers parts of three states and shows bike routes from Putney, VT and Walpole, NH in the north to Easthampton and South Hadley, MA in the south.
Governor Speaks at WRC's 50 Year Celebration
On Tuesday, June 23rd the WRC celebrated its 50th anniversary with a gathering of current and past Commissioners and staff, elected officials, state agencies, and many other friends overlooking the Connecticut River Valley from the vantage point of the School for International Training in Dummerston. The warm and humid evening didn't dampen the energy among the approximately 150 people in attendance, and the threatening storms skirted north and south of the gathering.
Brattleboro Area Farmers Market Receives Grant from WRC
The Brattleboro Area Farmers Market (BAFM) received a $35,000 grant on May 18, 2015 through the Windham Regional Commission Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund. BAFM will use the funds from the WRC to remediate contamination on the former Planet Gas site, located at 70 Western Avenue in Brattleboro..
New Local Emergency Plan Appendix Developed for Animal Planning
LEPC-6, at their April meeting, hosted the newly forming Windham Disaster Animal Response Team (DART) along with Joanne Bourbeau, the Northeastern Director of the Humane Society of the United States and the Vermont DART statewide Chair. What came out of that meeting was a desire for Emergency Planner and LEPC-6 Secretary, Alyssa Sabetto, to develop a an animal planning element to be included as part of the Local Emergency Operations Plan (LEOP) that gets updated yearly by towns.
"Get to Know the WRC" Video Unveiled at 50th Anniversary Celebration
An epic cinematic debut! Get to know the Windham Regional Commission. We unveiled this 5 minute video at our 50th anniversary celebration. Please share it. Thank you to Mondo Mediaworks for their great job on this video, and to the Windham Foundation for underwriting the effort.
Bees, Bats and Habitats Forum a Success!
News articles about our bee and bat populations in the last decade repeatedly emphasize the staggering losses of these populations and the many perils that have caused them: habitat loss, disease, pesticide use impacting bee populations, white-nose syndrome decimating bat populations, and the list goes on. On Friday, June 12, over 55 members of the public, from throughout the Windham Region, attended a forum entitled "Bees, Bats, and Habitats," at the Marlboro College Graduate School in Brattleboro, VT.
Opportunity for Wood Heat Conversion in Windham County's Public Buildings
The Windham Wood Heat (WWH) Initiative has been developed to yield community benefits, business success, and high performance public buildings based on a sustainable local forest industry. This $1.6 million program-funded through of the state's settlement agreement with Entergy Vermont Yankee via the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF)-will assist municipal and school buildings convert to heating with local, sustainable wood while addressing those buildings' energy efficiency and durability needs. This two-year program also includes public education, training for local building professionals, fuel supply procurement and other elements needed to make Windham County a long-term hub of advanced wood heat technology and practice.