The Ammonoosuc River in Bethlehem, NH. Photo courtesy of the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust.

The Ammonoosuc River in Bethlehem, NH. Photo courtesy of the Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust.

Foundation announces $900,000 in grants for Connecticut River projects

Projects leverage an additional $1.3 million in funding to restore and protect Connecticut River

CONCORD, NH (PRESS RELEASE) – The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation recently announced $893,958 in grant awards from its Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund. Grants were awarded to 15 projects across the upper Connecticut River watershed.

“This funding helps protect more than 600 acres of riparian lands and restore 220 miles of free-flowing stream by removing dams and replacing culverts,” said Kevin Peterson, senior program officer at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. “These projects will leverage an additional $1.3 million in funding from other sources to restore and protect one of the region’s critical environmental assets—the Connecticut River.”

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 $21 million for these projects. This is the 14th round of grants awarded from the fund, which will continue until the fund is spent down. Since 2003, the fund has distributed more than $13 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 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:

Ammonoosuc Conservation Trust of Sugar Hill, NH received three grants:

  • $68,000 to conserve a 203-acre parcel in Bethlehem, part of the Clean Water/Healthy Trout initiative;
  • $47,700 to conserve the 117-acre Lawrence parcel in Franconia, also part of the Clean Water/Healthy Trout initiative; and
  • $76,550 to conserve a 150-acre parcel along the Connecticut River in Bath.

Appalachian Mountain Club of Gorham, NH received $7,000 to support an update to the MEF Priority Conservation Area and Priority Connectivity Projects reports, using new and recently revised data, such as updated Wildlife Action Plans for New Hampshire and Vermont.

Caledonia County Natural Resources Conservation District of St. Johnsbury, VT was awarded $30,000 to replace a culvert with a bridge on the Water Andric River in Danville, VT, reconnecting eight miles of river habitat.

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

  • $5,000 for riparian buffer plantings on a conserved parcel along the Connecticut River in Haverhill, NH;
  • $5,000 for pre-removal planning for three small dams along Clark Brook in Haverhill, NH;
  • $42,375 for engineering design and permitting to remove a dam on the Ompompanoosuc River in W. Fairlee, VT; and
  • $206,435 for engineering design, permitting and removal of East Burke Dam on the Passumpsic River in East Burke, VT, restoring 99 miles of free-flowing habitat.

The Nature Conservancy/New Hampshire of Concord, NH was awarded $114,856 to conserve a 48-acre floodplain parcel along the upper Connecticut River in New Hampshire.

The Nature Conservancy/Vermont of Montpelier, VT was awarded $92,625 to complete the protection of Great Guildhall Swamp, a large A-ranked spruce-fir-tamarack and northern white cedar swamp that drains directly into the Connecticut River near Guildhall, VT.

Trout Unlimited received $84,997 to complete a comprehensive assessment of more than 750 stream crossings in 19 New Hampshire towns in the Upper Ammonoosuc River watershed.

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

  • $5,000 for a public access, water quality and riparian lands restoration along the Passumpsic River; and
  • $12,500 to support conservation of riparian lands and public access at the covered bridge across the Connecticut River in Columbia, NH.

White River Partnership of South Royalton, VT, was awarded $95,920 to support removal of the Sargent/Osgood/Roundy dam in Randolph, VT, reconnecting nearly 100 miles of free-flowing habitat along the First Branch of the White River.

The next application deadline for the Upper Connecticut River Mitigation and Enhancement Fund are posted at www.nhcf.org/mef. Revised application guidelines and a list of priority areas promoted by the fund will be posted later this year. For more information, contact Kevin Peterson at 603-263-8370 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.