Leahy: $1.1 Million Grant Will Support Micro-Grants To Spawn Efforts By Groups Across The Champlain Basin

BURLINGTON, Vt. (FRIDAY, June 19, 2015) – Standing on the shores of Lake Champlain, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and local officials Friday announced the availability of $1.1 million to be provided in small Local Implementation Grants to prevent pollution, support cultural heritage and encourage educational outreach relating to Lake Champlain and its watershed.  The Lake Chaplain Basin Program will use the federal funds to distribute grants to up to 100 small watershed groups, schools, towns and others across the Champlain Basin.

Leahy, who led in securing the funds, said:  “These grants support the dedicated people working to improve the Champlain Basin in their own communities.  They build the capacity and resources of local organizations all across the valley, helping groups that don’t have the wherewithal to go after big, complicated and more-competitive grants.  These federal dollars have been matched by thousands of volunteer hours given gladly by people working on projects that they love, right in their own communities, schools and watersheds.” 

The program has distributed more than 900 grants in its 23-year history, totaling more than $6.5 million.  These funds support smaller watershed groups, from town projects to local classrooms, and their projects across the basin.  Typically ranging between $5,000 and $15,000, past grants supported, for example, teaching environmental science by raising young salmon in the classroom and later releasing them back into the basin, and supporting the initial work to complete the Colchester Causeway Bike Path 20 years ago.

Director of the Lake Champlain Basin Program Bill Howland said:  “The Local Grants Program has been the flagship of our work at the Lake Champlain Basin Program from the beginning.  So we are especially grateful that Senator Leahy has again led a successful effort in the Congress to provide solid funding for our Local Grants.  Local organizations throughout the watershed put these funds to good use solving pollution problems in their own communities, working with their own neighbors. “

The grant program is funded through the Environmental Protection Agency, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the National Park Service.  Leahy, the senior most member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a member of its subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, has long supported the program, which leverages countless volunteer hours and the efforts of small watershed groups working to improve the basin in their local communities.

Vermont Agency of Natural Resources Watershed Director Peter LaFlamme and past grant recipients Douglas Brooks and Colin McCaffrey joined Leahy and Howland for the announcement.

Leahy noted, for those interested in applying for a Local Implementation Grant, that the RFP is scheduled for release on the Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) website on June 26, and proposals will be due in late August or late September.  For more information contact the LCBP at 802-372-3213. 

LINK to graphic detailing dispersal of Local Implementation Grants between 1992-2015: http://www.leahy.senate.gov/download/lcbpgrantfundsgraphicspdf

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