EAST CHARLESTON — The NorthWoods Stewardship Center (NWSC) and the Memphremagog Watershed Association (MWA) have each been awarded grant funding through the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department to improve stream habitat restoration and public water access in the Memphremagog watershed.

These grants were made possible by federal funding secured by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and allocated from the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission, which has helped fund research and water quality enhancement programs in both the Lake Champlain and the Lake Memphremagog watersheds.

The NorthWoods Stewardship Center received $290,991 in grant funding to be apportioned to restoration, accessibility, enhancement, and seed sourcing projects in the Memphremagog Watershed over a two-year period.

“This continued grant funding allows us to build on the outreach and restoration work that we started last year in the Willoughby, Barton, and Black River watersheds,” said NorthWoods Conservation Science Director Meghann Carter. “In addition, we are now funded to do 15 weeks of project implementation work each year, with a focus on increasing accessibility, water quality, and wildlife habitat of state-owned properties through a variety of projects including riparian buffer planting, streambank restoration, and invasive species removal.”

NorthWoods crews will also be working with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, The Nature Conservancy, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service to find, collect and store seeds from floodplain forest species for the future reestablishment of similar habitats via hydroseeding.

Expanding the reach of this work in the region, the Memphremagog Watershed Association this year received a $50,000 grant to help launch a similar initiative in the Johns River watershed. Funding will support increased capacity for the Association and the completion of the first stage of landowner outreach, streambank habitat assessment, and project development. This grant allows the MWA to bring the same model that has been used by NorthWoods in the Willoughby, Barton and Black River watersheds to the Johns River and its tributaries.

“We’re thrilled to have the support of the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission to expand this important work to the Johns River,” said MWA Project Manager Patrick Hurley. “Public outreach and participation in watershed conservation are at the core of MWA’s objectives, and we look forward to working with the state, NorthWoods, and landowners to craft conservation solutions that improve fisheries and water quality in both the rivers and Memphremagog.”

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