Connecticut River. (Photo courtesy of Vermont River Conservancy).

Connecticut River. (Photo courtesy of Vermont River Conservancy).

Foundation announces more than $520,000 in Grants for Connecticut River projects

Grants leverage nearly $2 million in additional project funding to restore and protect Connecticut River

CONCORD, NH (PRESS RELEASE) – The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation recently announced $521,298 in grant awards from its Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund. Grants were awarded to 13 projects across the upper Connecticut River watershed.

“These grants will leverage nearly $2 million in additional project funding from other sources,” said Kevin Peterson, the Foundation’s senior program officer who manages the Mitigation and Enhancement Fund program. “Five dam-removal projects will restore nearly 100 miles of free-flowing streams, improving fish habitat, water quality and flood resilience.”

A 12-person advisory committee, made up of representatives of environmental organizations, state and federal agencies, local community groups and TransCanada Hydro Northeast, recommends grants from the fund to support restoration, protection, and enhancement of the river, wetlands, and shore lands within the upper Connecticut River watershed (upstream of White River Junction, VT). The fund is expected to provide approximately $22 million for these projects. To date, the fund has awarded more than $13.6 million in grants.

The fund was created as part of the settlement agreement between the parties involved in the federal process to award a new operating license for three hydroelectric dams on the Connecticut River at Fifteen Mile Falls near Littleton, NH and Ryegate, VT. The settlement agreement, signed in 1997, involved a collaborative process in which representatives of state and federal agencies, environmental organizations, the local community and the dams’ owner worked to accomplish a settlement to define the new license for Fifteen Mile Falls. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a new license to operate the dams in April of 2002. Under this agreement, dam owner/operator TransCanada Hydro Northeast contributed a portion of the annual profits from dam operations to the fund.

Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

Connecticut River Joint Commissions was awarded $5,000 to support revised public education materials.

Connecticut River Watershed Council of Greenfield, Mass. received three grants:

  • $27,600 for final engineering design plans for removal of the old Norwich Reservoir Dam on Charles Brown Brook in Norwich, VT;
  • $57,500 for removal of the Geer Dam, a former small hydro dam on the Ompompanoosuc River in West Fairlee, VT; and
  • $149,500 for removal of Clark Pond Dam and Pine Mill Dam plus related fish passage improvements on Clark Brook in Haverhill, NH.

Hanover Conservancy was awarded $5,000 for the South Esker conservation project in Hanover, NH.

Trout Unlimited received three grants:

  • $58,000 for in-stream Brook Trout habitat restoration in the Yellow Branch and Black Branch watersheds of the Nulhegan unit of the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Vermont;
  • $13,000 for tributary restoration in the West Mountain Pond watershed in Maidstone, VT; and
  • $29,300 for the final year of in-stream restoration activities within the Nash Stream State Forest in northern New Hampshire.

The Trust for Public Land of Montpelier, VT was awarded $50,000 to support the Victory Hill conservation project in Victory, VT.

Vermont Land Trust of Montpelier, VT received $50,000 to support the Halls Brook Watershed project to expand the Newbury Town Forest in Newbury, VT.

Vermont River Conservancy of Montpelier, VT was awarded two grants:

  • $4,500 to develop an overnight shelter and trail access to the Nulhegan River at the confluence of the main stem and East Branch in Bloomfield, VT; and
  • $2,550 to support paddler and angler access along the Passumpsic River in Passumpsic Village in Barnet, VT.

White River Partnership of South Royalton, VT, was awarded $69,348 for planning and engineering to remove the Hyde Dam, which would restore 60 miles of free-flowing habitat on the Second Branch of the White River in Vermont.

Application guidelines, deadlines to apply, and a list of priority areas for the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund are posted at www.nhcf.org/mef. For more information, contact Peter Benson at 603-225-6641 ext. 271 or Peter.Benson@nhcf.org.

About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is New Hampshire’s statewide community foundation, founded in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire. The Foundation manages a growing collection of more than 1,800 funds created by generous individuals, families and businesses, and awards nearly $40 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving, supports great work happening in our communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.