From the Director, October 2016 - People, Water, and Planning
Often it's tough to know the value of water until you can't drink it, you can't swim in it, you can't fish in it, it can't support the creatures and plants that are supposed to live in or around it, it's too muddy or warm or cold, or it's simply not there anymore. Especially in the humid east, we assume it's just there and will be there as it's always been there, until it's not.
Saxtons River Watershed Collaborative Looks Forward to Future Projects
The Saxtons River Watershed Collaborative, comprised of members from groups, schools, town officials, and organizations within the watershed, along with the Windham Regional Commission, met at the beginning of September to update the team of project developments. The group has been funded by the High Meadows Fund to create and foster a watershed identity throughout the towns and communities along the river. The collaborative has worked on several flood resiliency projects including planting 1,360 trees, pursuing 6 conservation easements on river corridor properties, and setting up an educational center. Since the group last met, the educational center has found a home in the Retreat Farms in Brattleboro.
Evacuation Plan Template Now Available
At an LEPC-6 meeting, a request was made for assistance in evacuation planning for towns. Emergency Planner, Alyssa Sabetto, has developed an "Evacuation Plan template" for towns to customize for their unique circumstances. In putting this template together, Alyssa received information from several town officials, VT State Police, VT Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, VT Agency of Human Services, and VT Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (DEMHS). This template is available by contacting Alyssa or visiting our Emergency Planning webpage. The template has been approved by Vermont DEMHS and will become a new appendix in the 2017 LEOP (it will not be a requirement).
WRC Seeks Your Feedback on New Renewable Energy Grant Program for Windham County
The Windham Regional Commission is excited to announce that we have received funds from the Clean Energy Development Fund to develop a grant program for renewable energy generation projects within Windham County. We are looking for your feedback on the proposed program detailed below as the program can change based on the feedback. Comments will be accepted until 5pm on October 5th. In addition, the WRC will be hosting a public meeting at Townshend Town Hall 2006 RTE 30, Townshend Vermont on September 29th at 6pm as another opportunity for the public to comment on the program. Please RSVP to the event by emailing Marion Major at
and submit comments to the same address or call (802)257-4547 x109.
WRC Welcomes Marion Major to its Staff
Marion Major started in June as a planner at the WRC and will have the lead on energy and natural resources. Marion grew up in Westminster West and graduated from the Natural Resources School at UVM in 2014 where she focused on climate change resiliency and worked with a variety of organizations throughout the state. She has also been a sheep cheese maker and farmer on the Vermont Shepherd Farm, worked with the Vermont Land Trust, and worked with a solar energy development company. She is happy to be working with the towns, people, and environment of the region she is so familiar with and attached to!
WRC Receives $350,000 in Supplemental Funds to Clean up Contaminated Brownfields Sites in the Region
The Windham Regional Commission is pleased to announce it will receive $350,000 in supplemental funding to recapitalize the Windham Region Brownfields Reuse Initiative (WRBRI) Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). This funding was recently awarded from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to 33 successful RLF grantees as part of approximately $10.7 million in supplemental funding to help transform communities by cleaning up contaminated Brownfields properties.
Grafton Elementary Students Dig Deep to Help the Saxtons River
This heartwarming video shows a day of buffer planting with the Grafton Elementary School and the Saxtons River Watershed Collaborative. The planting was a result of a project funded by the High Meadows Fund which works with the communities, schools, and organizations along the Saxtons River in cultivating a healthy watershed and a knowledge of flood resiliency. To learn more about the project visit WRC's Natural Resources page.
Village Maps of Readsboro, Jacksonville, and Wilmington Now Available
Detailed base maps which show all buildings, streets, driveways, sidewalks, and other features are now available for the villages of Readsboro, Jacksonville, and Wilmington. WRC GIS staff created these maps from air photos, GPS data, and field mapping.
Each village has a series of maps in a number of different formats. One map show the entire village, while another focuses just on the village core/downtown area. Most maps are in color, but at least one is in simple grayscale so that it can be used as a background for marking up and highlighting specific features.
Sale of TransCanada Hydropower Facilities on the Connecticut and Deerfield Rivers, updated 6/9
When TransCanada announced its intent to sell its holdings in New England, including its holdings on the Connecticut and Deerfield Rivers, we understood this was an important issue for 12 of our 27 towns where TransCanada owns property and has flowage rights: Brattleboro, Dummerston, Putney, Readsboro, Rockingham, Searsburg, Somerset, Stratton, Westminster, Whitingham, Wilmington and Vernon.
Collaborative Effort MovesRoute 30 Multi-Modal Gateway Study Forward
The following link provides access to up-to-date meeting notes from the Technical Advisory Committee and the Local Advisory Committee; as well as the existing conditions report. www.placesense.com/gateway
Windham Regional Commission Receives $400,000 in Brownfields Assessment Funds
At an event on Friday, May 20th, at a former brownfield site in Burlington, Vermont, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy announced that Windham Regional Commission will receive $400,000 in funding to continue its successful Brownfields Assessment program. This announcement was made as part of the national announcement of the selection of 218 new grant investments totaling $55.2 million to 131 communities across the U.S. Recipients will receive Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund and Cleanup grants.
WRC Releases Region-wide maps of Undeveloped Waters
The Windham Regional Commission has released a set of maps showing the status of undeveloped streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds across the entire Windham Region. These maps are culmination of work over the past five years, and bring together the results of three separate projects to identify undeveloped waters in the Region and classify them as to their conservation status and town plan land use district.
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.
"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.