DEC announces Water Quality Restoration Formula Grants

For Immediate Release
November 17, 2022

Contact:
Chris Rottler, Water Investment Coordinator
Department of Environmental Conservation, Water Investment Division
802-461-6051, chris.rottler@vermont.gov

Montpelier, VT — The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently issued seven ‘Water Quality Restoration Formula Grants’ to provide funding for clean water projects to address phosphorous and other water quality impairments in the Lake Champlain and Lake Memphremagog watershed basins.

These grants were distributed to newly formed regional Clean Water Service Providers (CWSPs) established under Vermont’s Act 76 of 2019. Each CWSP represents their respective tactical basin planning watershed and will operate within their assigned area. The grants, totaling in $7 million, were funded out of the Clean Water Fund, which is supported by revenue from Vermont’s Rooms and Meals and Property Transfer revenues, and unrecovered nickels from unreturned recyclables.

The CWSPs will work with a local basin council to prioritize and select projects for funding in their respective basins. These “Basin Water Quality Councils” (BWQCs) will hold public meetings, provide localized water quality knowledge to establish policy, and make decisions for the CWSP regarding the most impactful water quality improvement projects to pursue.

Vermonters interested in implementing clean water projects can work directly with their respective basin CWSP to propose a project for consideration for funding. Non-regulatory (voluntary) clean water projects are eligible for funding from a CWSP. These grants and this funding represent a significant investment and commitment to address water pollution, especially phosphorus pollution, from non-regulated sources.

The seven major river basins (and their assigned CWSPs) are: Missisquoi River (Northwest Regional Planning Commission); Lamoille River (Northwest Regional Planning Commission); Winooski River (Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission); Northern Lake Champlain Basin (Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission); Otter Creek (Addison County Regional Planning Commission (ACRPC)); Southern Lake Champlain Basin (a joint partnership between the Rutland Regional Planning Commission and the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resource Conservation District); and the Lake Memphremagog Basin (Vermont Housing Conservation Board).

Adam Lougee, ACRPC Executive Director said, “As the Clean Water Service Provider for the Otter Creek Basin, the Addison County Regional Planning Commission looks forward to the opportunity to reduce phosphorus loading in the Basin from areas not covered by regulations. We received a grant of just over $1 million this year with more to come in future years. We now need to recruit champions from watershed organizations, other non-profits, municipalities, homeowner associations, private businesses and landowners to identify, develop, build and maintain quality, cost-effective projects.”

CWSPs are expected to receive ongoing annual appropriations, subject to the Vermont Clean Water Board’s annual recommendations for funding. More information on Act 76 can be found at the State’s website: https://dec.vermont.gov/water-investment/statues-rules-policies/act-76.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for protecting Vermont’s natural resources and safeguarding human health for the benefit of this and future generations. Visit dec.vermont.gov and follow the Department of Environmental Conservation on Facebook and Instagram.

Image courtesy of NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
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