Clean and Clear offers ecosystem restoration grantsWATERBURY (September 9, 2008)- Governor Jim Douglas announced today that the Center for Clean and Clear at the Agency of Natural Resources is making up to $500,000 in grants available for its Ecosystem Restoration Program.Governor Douglas said the newly expanded program broadens the range of eligible projects to more fully encompass the multitude of strategies and techniques available for improving water quality in the state, with special emphasis on reducing phosphorus and sediment pollution associated with wet weather runoff.”These grants will help our watershed partners do the work that improves water quality town by town across Vermont,” said Julie Moore, director of the Center for Clean and Clear. “The improvements we make on land have direct impacts on protecting our rivers, streams, ponds and lakes.”The Center for Clean and Clear is particularly interested in projects that can improve stream stability; protect against flood hazards; improve in-stream and riparian habitat; reduce the effects of pollution from sediment; nutrients and other pollutants; protect and restore riparian wetlands; re-establish lakeshore native vegetation; reduce shoreline erosion; enhance the economic and environmental sustainability of agricultural lands and incorporate the science of fluvial geomorphology in river corridor management decisions.Governor Jim Douglas made water quality one of his top environmental priorities when he created the Clean and Clear Action Plan five years ago. Since then, the state has invested more than $40 million and leveraged an additional $40 million in federal funds to implement water quality programs that have garnered national recognition and awards.”The Clean and Clear Action Plan has made a difference in protecting our waters,” Douglas said. “These grants go to the heart of the effort – Vermonters working together for our future environmental and economic prosperity.”The Center for Clean and Clear is accepting one-page project “pre-proposals” until October 10, 2008.Through a competitive process, Vermont municipalities, local or regional governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations and citizen groups can apply for the grants.The Center for Clean and Clear will then work with proponents to develop either more detailed proposals or project work plans for funding consideration. More information and grant guidelines can be found at: http://www.anr.state.vt.us/cleanandclear/index.htm(link is external).