From the Director, June 2015 -The WRC in Washington, D.C.
In May I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C. at the invitation of the National Association of Development Organizations (NADO) and the International Economic Development Council to participate in a discussion titled "Making Resilience the New Normal: A Convening of Local, Regional and Federal Leaders." Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission and Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission were also invited. The 1.5-day convening brought federal partners together with experienced local and regional leaders for a discussion about how we can work together to achieve better resilience outcomes - the ability to withstand and bounce back from natural disasters and climate change.
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.
Upcoming Grant Opportunities
WRC Releases Forest Stewardship Report
Do you know what threats, both global and local, face our forests and our forest economy? Are you concerned that climate change and invasive species could change the composition of forests as we know them? Is Windham County really the “Timber Capital of Vermont?” The Windham Regional Commission’s recently-released report, “Landscape Based Forest Stewardship,” provides insight into topics such as these, including what strategies exist to preserve the region’s forestlands.
Study of Economic Impacts to Tri-County Area Due to Vermont Yankee Closure is Released
On December 29, 2014, the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station (VY) will no longer operate as an energy production facility. When fully operational, the facility had over 600 workers, most living in Windham County, VT; Cheshire County, NH; and Franklin County, MA. For over 40 years, VY has been an important component of this region’s economy. So what is the magnitude of economic impact to our tri-state region due to the discontinuing of operations and decommissioning of VY, especially the loss of local income? This is a question that four regional economic development planning organizations are seeking to answer. These organizations are: the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, the Southwest Regional Planning Commission, and the Windham Regional Commission. A study completed by the University of Massachusetts’ Donahue Institute that begins to provide some insight can be found here: UMDI Study of Economic Impacts of VY Closure.
WRC Engages with the Clean Energy Development Fund
The Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) will distribute half of the funds in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Program Plan in or for the benefit of Windham County (equal to roughly $2.6 million of the $5.3 million available statewide). The Windham Regional Commission has been actively engaging with the CEDF Board to support a program plan for Windham County that will provide the greatest benefit to the region.
The Windham Regional Plan is Approved!
We are pleased to announce that the Windham Regional Plan was approved by a unanimous vote on September 30, 2014 during the meeting of the Windham Regional Commission. This concludes our regional plan update process that began in October 2012. We wish to extend our gratitude to everyone who participated in this effort.