Possible grant looks to work on watershed resiliency
by Emily Blake
Mar 28, 2017 | 2926 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
HALIFAX- With help from the Windham Regional Commission, Halifax may have the opportunity to be involved in a grant program devoted to flood resiliency along the Green River, as well as the entire watershed. Stephan Chait, along with Marion Major from the WRC, were present at Tuesday night’s selectboard meeting to introduce and discuss the grant.

“There would be opportunities for the town to do both environmental and educational programs that would assist in flood resiliency and improving the watershed around the Green River,” Chait said.

This Green River Watershed Cooperative would also include the towns of Marlboro and Guilford. The cooperative would be funded by the Vermont organization the High Meadows Fund, at no cost to the towns.

The WRC was involved in a similar watershed collaborative group along the Saxtons River, also funded by the High Meadows Fund. Major said this collaborative did buffer plantings, planned conservation easements, and implemented education programs in the communities involved. The group comprised members from schools, town offices, and organizations within the watershed.

Major also said the educational factor was a great part of the Saxtons River collaborative. The schools helped with the buffer plantings around the watershed, and Major said the kids learned a lot from the involvement.

“It was an incredibly successful program,” Major said. “Because of the success from the first round of grant funding, they decided to do a second round of funding.” Major said the Green River cooperative has “a lot of opportunity for ecological restoration work, but also a lot of momentum and involvement in the communities.”

“It was interesting to me to see just how much of the watershed is actually in Halifax,” Chait said. “It made a lot of sense to put this idea forward.”

A letter of intent from the WRC briefly discusses what the grant project might look like, focusing on education, an overlap with public arts, and ecological restoration. Major said at this point the collaborative is still fairly undefined because the application has not yet been submitted. The WRC is now just looking to gauge how the communities feel and what they would like in terms of level of involvement.

“The grant itself looks to really work on watershed resiliency and work with, not only one town at a time, but all towns involved in the watershed to create educational overlap, do project support, and to really implement the projects that should happen along the river to make it more flood resilient,” Major said.

Major said the projects are implemented on the watershed level, rather than on a town-by-town basis, meaning no town will be favored over another. Marlboro and Guilford have both already expressed interest in the cooperative. The grant could be as much as $40,000.
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