Groton dam removal.

Groton dam removal.

Foundation announces $1.3 million in grants for Connecticut River projects

Projects will improve water quality, restore habitat and conserve open space in watershed

CONCORD, NH (PRESS RELEASE) – The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation recently announced $1.3 million in grant awards from its Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund. Grants were awarded to 13 projects in New Hampshire and Vermont in an effort to improve water quality, restore habitat and conserve open space throughout the upper Connecticut River watershed.

A 12-person advisory committee, made up of representatives from environmental organizations, state and federal agencies, local community groups and TransCanada Hydro Northeast, recommends grants from the Mitigation and Enhancement 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 $21 million for these projects over a 20-year period. This is the 13th round of grants awarded from the fund, which will continue until the fund is spent down. Since 2003, the fund has distributed $12.5 million to support Connecticut River projects.

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:

American Rivers, a national river-conservation organization, was awarded $35,039 to support engineering design and permitting to remove the Sargent/Osgood/Roundy dam along the White River in Randolph, VT.

Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust of Sugar Hill, NH received $69,300 to support implementation of the Clean Water/Healthy Trout project, which will protect and restore important stream banks in the Ammonosuc River watershed.

Connecticut River Watershed Council of Greenfield, MA received three grants:

  • $59,225 to support cost-share payments for four farm-conservation projects along the Connecticut River in Orford and Piermont, NH, and Bradford, VT.
  • $116,150 to support replacement of a culvert on Abbott Brook/Maple Hill Rd in Strafford, VT; and
  • $77,000 to support removal of the Groton #9 Dam on the Wells River in Groton, VT.

The Nature Conservancy/Vermont was awarded two grants:

  • $63,000 to support an assessment of habitat restoration for the endangered Dwarf Wedgemussel in the upper Connecticut River; and
  • $443,000 to support the Lower White River Land Conservation Project in Sharon, VT.

Trout Unlimited received two grant awards:

  • $125,000 to support the final phase of the Nash Stream Restoration Project Odell and Stratford, NH.
  • $114,000 to support a two-year project involving in-stream restoration in the Paul Stream watershed in Ferdinand and Granby, VT.

Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife was awarded $43,600 for a three-year project to support introduction of the endangered Jessup’s Milk Vetch to the upper Connecticut River.

Vermont Land Trust of Montpelier received a grant of $40,000 to support conservation of a 35-acre parcel with significant riparian buffer protection along the Moose River in East St. Johnsbury, VT.

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

  • $98,000 to support conservation of a 55-acre parcel along the upper Connecticut River which includes floodplain forest, wetlands and hayfields; and
  • $64,750 for conservation of a 106-acre parcel with one-half mile of frontage along the East Branch of the Nulhegan River in Bloomfield, VT.

The next application deadline for the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund, along with updated grant application guidelines, will be posted later this year at www.nhcf.org/mef, which includes a list of priority areas promoted by the fund. For more information, contact Kevin Peterson at 603-653-0387 ext. 21270 or kevin.peterson@nhcf.org.

About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation was created in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire, and is dedicated to strengthening communities across the Granite State. The Foundation manages a growing collection of 1,700 philanthropic funds created by generous families, individuals and businesses, and awards more than $30 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation invests charitable assets for today and tomorrow; works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving; supports critical work happening in New Hampshire communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.