Natural Resources

STAFF:  EMILY DAVIS

By working with individuals and partnering organizations, the WRC conducts regional natural resource and land use planning, with a goal to preserve our region’s resources and promote the accompanying rural land values.

Recent efforts have included the development of tactical basin plans, river corridor management plans, and the implementation of those identified conservation or restoration projects.

The Natural Resources Committee has organized educational programs and events to support towns and their Conservation Commissions. Future programming will include planning for regional open space, wildlife habitat, and working-lands conservation, all of which support the Windham Regional Plan policies. For more information, contact Emily Davis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Vermont's Clean Water Initiative

In 2015, the Vermont state legislature passed Act 64, or VT’s Clean Water Act (VCWA). The comprehensive statute mandated an “all-in” approach to reduce nutrient loading, prevent sedimentation, establish geomorphic equilibrium, and overall improve the quality of Vermont’s waters. For more information on the WRC’s contribution to Vermont’s water quality efforts, see our Water Quality page.

Because of the broad scope of Act 64’s requirements, new water quality policy and regulations reach across many different sectors. The following resources are helpful links and fact-sheets intended to help Vermonters navigate the VCWA and water quality efforts overall.

Roads, Road Erosion, and Stormwater Management

  • Municipal Roads General Permit factsheet (VT DEC), PDF
  • Better Roads Grant brochure (VTrans), PDF
  • Stormwater Management Master Planning Guidelines (VT DEC), PDF

Agricultural Considerations and Nutrient Run-off

  • VT’s 2016 Required Agricultural Practice’s (RAPs) Summary Factsheet, PDF 
  • Farm Size Rule RAP Factsheet, PDF 
  • Windham Country Natural Resources Conservation District, website   

Natural Resources Tools & Helpful Links

Online mapping tools:
For some help sheets on the Natural Resource and Flood Ready Atlases, visit WRC's GIS Help Documents page.

  • ANR Natural Resources Atlas: Geographic information about environmental features and sites that the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources manages, monitors, permits, or regulates.
  • Vermont Flood Ready Atlas: The Vermont Flood Ready Atlas is an online-map tool that can help you identify critical facilities, transportation services and buildings in your community that are at risk of damage from flooding. The Atlas can also help you identify local watersheds and the extent of natural flood protection provided by forests, wetlands, floodplains and river corridors.
  • ANR BioFinder: BioFinder is a map and database identifying Vermont's lands and waters supporting high priority ecosystems, natural communities, habitats, and species. The most comprehensive assessment of its kind in Vermont, BioFinder was developed by the Agency of Natural Resources and partners to further our collective stewardship and conservation efforts.

For Municipalities / Conservation Commissions:

  • Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department: Specifically, the Community Wildlife Program provides municipal planners and non-governmental organizations with the most up-to-date information on conservation science and resources for implementing their conservation projects.
  • Vermont Natural Resources Council:  Offers a variety of resources to support communities in conserving and protecting natural resources through four program areas: Energy and Climate Action, Forests and Wildlife, Water, and Sustainable Communities.

For Landowners:

  • Vermont Coverts: Provides training opportunities for landowners to learn about and support the natural resources and wildlife habitat on their land.
  • VT DEC Citizen Science opportunities. 

Green Infrastructure:  Tools to Revolutionize Stormwater Management

Green infrastructure (GI) is beginning to revolutionize how we alleviate flooding and conserve our water resources by shifting how we approach land development and manage stormwater. Traditional stormwater management employs costly underground infrastructure to move stormwater off site as quickly as possible. In contrast, GI seeks to “slow it down, spread it out, and soak it in,” thereby retaining water onsite to the extent possible, which can dramatically reduce flooding and its associated impact to public safety and infrastructure.

GI is a suite of design tools and structural techniques that help to maintain natural hydrologic processes. There are two broad approaches to GI: Low Impact Development is a planning and design approach that seeks to maintain GI by minimizing land disturbance and avoiding sensitive ecological areas. Green Stormwater Infrastructure is a set of on-the-ground management practices that allow stormwater to be managed in the areas where runoff is produced and seeks to restore and maintain natural hydrologic processes.

For additional information about green infrastructure and available resources, please visit the Vermont Planning Information Center website: http://vpic.info/GreenInfrastructureToolkit.html.


Woodlands of the Windham Region – Our Working Landscape

Forests cover 86% of Windham County, and the county is reputed to be the greatest forest timber resource in Vermont because of its forestland area, growth rates, and timber volumes.

Graduate students from the Conway School, Rachel Edwards, Anna Fialkoff and Jessica Orkin, presented research collected at a forum, hosted by the WRC Natural Resources Committee on April 18th 2013. They facilitated focus groups and interviewed individual landowners, foresters, educators, urban and rural dwellers, and people young and old, to ascertain a greater understanding of the cultural, economic, and conservation values of the working forest landscape of the Windham region.

See their presentation, with numerous graphics that tell the story, here. (7 mb. PDF)

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Last Updated on 06 March 2017
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