For Immediate Release:  February 26, 2015

Upper Valley River Restoration Projects Receive Grant Funding

Pomfret, Vermont – The Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) announced today that it has received more than $270,000 in grants to help implement several river restoration projects in Vermont and New Hampshire this year.

More than $250,000 comes from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund grant, while another $20,000 is from the State of Vermont’s Watershed Grant.  These grants, and other funding secured by CRWC, will fund the removal of an old mill dam, conservation projects on 4 local farms, and the replacement of an undersized culvert.  In total more than $370,000 will be spent to ensure completion of these projects.

The dam removal project will take place in Groton, VT on the Wells River.  The old dam is just 1.5 miles downstream from a similar deadbeat dam removed in 2014 by CRWC and partners.  Removal of the Groton #9 dam (pic attached) in 2015 will open 34 miles of stream, roughly half of which is cold water habitat for native Brook trout.  Additional funding support for this project comes from Green Mountain Power (the dam owner), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and individual CRWC donors.

CRWC also will continue its work with farms in the greater Upper Valley region to help improve water quality as well as fish and wildlife habitat.  This new grant funding will help pay for conservation projects at 4 farms in Piermont and Orford, NH as well as in Bradford, VT.  Practices to be implemented include installing fencing to keep cows out of brooks, planting trees/shrubs along stream banks, invasive plant control, and improving stream crossings.

In Strafford, VT the grant funding will be used to replace an undersized, perched culvert with a larger more flood and fish friendly structure.  The new culvert will allow for fish passage into the 924-acre State of Vermont Podunk Wildlife Management Area.  Additional funding for this project has been provided by the VT Department of Fish & Wildlife, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the Town of Strafford.

“Improving the water quality of our rivers, as well as increasing fish and wildlife habitat, is a cornerstone of our mission,” said CRWC River Steward Ron Rhodes. “These grants and the other sources of funding are critical to helping make our rivers safer and healthier for all to enjoy.”   The Connecticut River Watershed Council works to protect the watershed from source to sea.  As stewards of this heritage, we celebrate our four-state treasure and collaborate, educate, organize, restore and intervene to preserve its health for generations to come.  Our work informs our vision of economic and ecological abundance.  To learn more about CRWC visit www.ctriver.org.

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CONTACT:  Ron Rhodes, North Country River Steward, Connecticut River Watershed Council, (802) 457-6114 or rrhodes@ctriver.org