October E-News from VNRC

October E-Newsletter from VNRC
October is shaping up to be a busy month! See below for the latest news and upcoming events. There’s still time to raise your voice in support of a strong and equitable Climate Action Plan: RSVP here for the Vermont Climate Council’s public engagement zoom sessions today and tomorrow, and review VNRC’s priorities for the Climate Action Plan here.
The Latest on Climate Action…
 The Climate Council needs to hear from you –Public input is crucial to developing Vermont’s Climate Action Plan, which will be released on December 1. Don’t miss this week’s opportunities to add your voice (virtual event for BIPOC community today at 6 and virtual event tomorrow at 6). Read more below, and see the event schedule and VNRC’s top priorities for the plan here.
— Vermont Climate Coalition letter –VNRC and our partners in the Vermont Climate Coalition signed onto a letter specifying principles that the Climate Action Plan must incorporate in order for it to succeed. We will be submitting formal comments on detailed recommendations in the coming weeks.
 Webinar recap: Priorities for the Climate Action Plan –VNRC’s Johanna Miller (who holds a seat on the Climate Council) participated in a Climate Coalition webinar on September 27 to share insights, and help answer questions in preparation for public comment. View the recording here if you missed it, or to review priorities for one of the upcoming public events.
 Vermont youth speak out on climate — The Vermont Youth Lobby gathered on the State House lawn on October 2 in their first in-person event since before the COVID pandemic began, to reflect on the impacts that climate change is already having on younger generations, and to call on those who currently hold power to act boldly while there’s still time. Listen to the full story here.
 Dunklee Pond Dam removed –We’re happy to report the successful removal of another derelict dam, Dunklee Pond Dam in Rutland City. The removal restored 13 miles of aquatic habitat along Tenney Brook, eliminated a major flood risk to nearby homes, and excavated 11,300 cubic yards of phosphorus-containing sediment that contributed to algae blooms downstream in Lake Champlain. Rutland Mayor, David Allaire, will join us at a press conference celebrating the project this Thursday, October 7 at 10am (rain date Friday October 8). Read more below.
 Thanks for attending VNRC’s 2021 Annual Meeting — We were thrilled to see so many of you at our Annual Meeting on September 23! View a recording here. VNRC presented this year’s Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership to Nancy Patch. Read more below and see Nancy’s inspiring acceptance speech here.
— RFP for next dam removal — We are already gearing up for our next dam removal project: Breadloaf Dam in Ripton. We are seeking a licensed engineer to submit proposals for a feasibility and preliminary engineering and concept design. Read more here.
In the News
Vermont is investing big in downtowns! –VNRC applauds Governor Scott’s announcement to invest $3.6 million in Downtown and Village Center Tax Incentives, supporting 28 projects for Fiscal Year 2022. These smart growth investments bolster accessible housing and transportation, local businesses, and natural resource protection. Read more here.
— VNRC’s comments on Rutland Combined Sewer Overflows — VNRC and the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) recently submitted comments on the long-expired Clean Water Act discharge permit for the Rutland Wastewater Treatment Plant, to ensure compliance with the Lake Champlain Clean-up plan, address the discharge of toxic PFAS, and Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO) from the facility. Read more here.
— VT Attorney General is suing oil giants — Vermont Attorney General, T. J. Donovan, announced a lawsuit in September against the four biggest suppliers of fossil fuels to the state, arguing that they have misled the public for decades over their own science about climate change. This is one of many actions needed to combat climate change, and hold polluters accountable. Read more here.
— New state grants to enable great neighborhoods — Small zoning changes can help enable the creation of sorely needed housing in Vermont. We welcome the Legislature’s appropriation of $500,000 to help municipalities prepare bylaw updates, implement Zoning for Great Neighborhoods, and expand choice and opportunity for homes in walkable neighborhoods. Applications are due November 15. Learn more here.
With appreciation for…
— City Market, Rally for Change — We were honored to be one of September’s recipients of City Market’s Rally for Change Program in Burlington. Thanks to City Market, and to all of you who chose to round up your change at the checkout counter, VNRC raised over $1,600!
— American Flatbread, Burlington Hearth — Thanks to American Flatbread in Burlington for hosting a Benefit Bake for VNRC on September 28. The dedicated staff and your love of pizza (ok, technically flatbread!) raised over $750 for VNRC!
— Perrywinkle’s Jewelers — In September, Perrywinkle’s Fine Jewelry began donating to VNRC on a monthly basis in honor of their customers. We’re grateful for their support. If you do any holiday shopping at Perrywinkle’s, know that a portion of your purchase is going to a good cause!
— VtSHARES Campaign is October 1829 — The VtSHARES campaign is one way state employees can support VNRC. Running from October 18-29 this year, if you work for the State of Vermont, keep an eye out for VNRC in the directory and pledge form that will be shared by your employer. Thanks to the Green Mountain United Way for coordinating the campaign!
— October 20: AVCC Caring for the Land Keynote — VNRC Board Member, Judy Dow, will keynote the Association for Vermont Conservation Commission’s (AVCC) Caring for the Land Conservation Summit. Learn more and register for her keynote, and other upcoming virtual sessions here.
— October TBA: State Spending Report Card — VNRC will be holding a press event in late October to discuss the release of the State Spending Report Card. Stay tuned for more details to follow the money!
— October 22: Half Earth Day — Registration is open for Half Earth Day 2021. Join this virtual summit to hear from E.O. Wilson, Sir David Attenborough, and many others on the importance of preserving at least half our planet for wildlife!
— October 28-29: AARP Placemaking Workshop — Join AARP at a free placemaking workshop to learn how public space improvements strengthen local efforts to build community and create welcoming places to gather. Register for the workshop here, and learn more about AARP’s town winter placemaking grants here.
—  October 15: The Earth Bestows Art Exhibit — The All Souls Interfaith Gathering Gallery is hosting an exhibit on Perennial Perspectives in the Arts. The artists are affiliated with New Perennials, which will be opening from 5-7pm, and running through the month.
— November 9: Vital Communities Climate Migration Forum — As climate change makes other regions of the country hotter and drier, Vermont is projected to become cooler and wetter, drawing new waves of migration. Save the date for Vital Communities’ Climate Migration Forum, from 6-8 pm, to discuss the challenges and opportunities posed by climate migration.
— December 16-17: Forest Ecosystem Monitoring Cooperative Annual Conference — Save the dates for the hybrid online and in-person conference, with the theme Facing Change: Reimagining forested communities in a time of disruptionMore details can be found here.
— December 4: Virtual VECAN Conference — The 14th Annual Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network (VECAN) Conference will be held virtually for the second year in a row. The conference will kick off as usual on the first Saturday of December—December 4, followed by workshop sessions throughout the following week. Stay tuned for more details to come!
Climate Council Public Engagement
The Vermont Climate Council’s public engagement sessions are still underway, presenting a critical opportunity for you to add your voice to developing the state’s Climate Action Plan!

VNRC has signed onto an open letter with our Climate Coalition partners, and will be submitting detailed comments to ensure the plan adequately addresses transportation and buildings, two of Vermont’s largest emissions sources; implements a 100% Renewable Energy Standard; advances smart growth policies; and keeps environmental justice front and center so that climate work advances justice moving forward. 
Learn more here, and register for one of this week’s public comment sessions via Zoom here.
Removing Dam Obstructions to our Free-Flowing Rivers
VNRC is celebrating the successful removal of Dunklee Pond Dam on Tenney Brook in Rutland. After a thorough design and permitting process, we began removing the dam in early August, and completed the removal in late September.
Removing the 300-year-old obstacle protects nearby homes which had to be evacuated eight times in recent years during heavy rainfall events, and allows the natural restoration of the ecosystem to begin. It also eliminated an impounded source of phosphorous that contributed to cyanobacteria algae blooms in down-stream Lake Champlain. Rutland Mayor, David Allaire will join VNRC and project partners at the site for a press conference this Thursday at 10am. 
Even as we celebrate the completion of this dam removal, we have our sights set on the next one: Breadloaf Dam on Brandy Brook in Ripton. See here for a Request for Proposal for a feasibility and preliminary engineering and concept design.
VNRC’s 2021 Annual Meeting
Thanks to everyone who attended our 58th Annual Meeting on September 23! We were thrilled that so many VNRC members, board members, and partners joined us over Zoom for the second year in a row. Click here to view a recording of the meeting.
We elected new board members, Steph Baer, Megan Camp, Elizabeth Gibson, and Peter Sterling, and said a fond farewell to outgoing board members, Elizabeth Courtney, Amy Seidl, and Board Chair, Kelley Coleman, who had all reached their term limits.
We were also pleased to award the 2021 Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership to the Franklin/Grand Isle County Forester, Nancy Patch. Reflecting on the dedication of lifelong and new Vermonters, Nancy said, “We can only really effect change when we come together to make it happen.” We couldn’t agree more!