Public meetings on the status of waterfowl populations and waterfowl hunting seasons for the State of Vermont and Lake Champlain zone in New York will be held March 15, in Whitehall, N.Y., March 16 in White River Junction, and March 17, in Essex.
The annual meetings are being held by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
The March 15 meeting will be held at the Skenesborough Rescue Squad building in Whitehall, N.Y. The March 16 meeting will be held at the Hartford High School auditorium in White River Junction. The March 17 meeting will be held at Memorial Hall, 5 Towers Road, Essex..
The meetings will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Waterfowl hunters are encouraged to attend one of these meetings and share their preferences and opinions with other waterfowl hunters and wildlife personnel.
Under Federal regulations, waterfowl seasons, bag limits, and shooting hours in the Lake Champlain Zone must be uniform throughout the entire zone. Therefore, waterfowl seasons in New York's portion of the Lake Champlain Zone must be identical to the waterfowl season in Vermont's portion of the Zone.
Comments received at the March meetings, as well as input and recommendations from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, will be reviewed by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board.
Turkey Hunting Seminars, April 2 and 3
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is hosting two free turkey hunting seminars this spring — one on April 2, the other on April 3.
"Both experienced and first-time turkey hunters stand to benefit from these seminars," said Hunter Education Training Coordinator John Pellegrini. "We will provide A-Z hunting information, including safe hunting practices, specialized equipment, calls, site setup, and other strategies for harvesting turkeys."
Both seminars will be held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The April 2 seminar will be at the Barre Fish and Game Club on Gun Club Road in Barre. The April 3 Seminar will be at the Hartland Fire Department in Hartland.
Certified Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors Jeff Blanchard and Brett Ladue will be leading the seminars, with Jeff teaching on April 2 and Brett instructing on April 3.
You may sign up by going to VT Hunter Education Seminars at: http://tinyurl.com/gr9csxh.
Registration is online and participants are encouraged to bring a lunch. Participants should NOT bring their own shotguns and ammunition to the seminar.
If you have questions, please call John Pellegrini at 802-272-2909.
Vermont watershed grants awarded for 2016
Trout habitat will be improved, water will be cleaner and invasive plants will be better controlled, thanks to funding from Vermont's 2016 Watershed Grant Program.
The program, established by the legislature in 1998 and financed by a portion of the sales of the Vermont Conservation License Plates, provides funding to non-profits and towns wanting to improve aquatic habitat, water quality and flood resiliency. Co-administered by Vermont Fish & Wildlife and the Department of Environmental Conservation, the grant program supports both hands-on projects, such as removing an old dam as well as educational, such as outreach on invasive plants. Either way, purchases of conservation plates directly benefit Vermont's beloved waterways.
Fifteen projects totaling $90,000 were awarded this year from the forty-four grant applications received and a total of $250,000 requested.
• Improving fish passage on the Mad River and Mettawee tributaries
• Removal of an old dam on a West River tributary
• Removing dangerous, dam-related debris on the Missisquoi River
• Watershed planning and outreach, including Lewis Creek
• In-stream and stream bank restoration on the White River
• Milfoil spread prevention on Lake Seymour
• Education-related programs in the Upper Connecticut and Mad River valleys
"These are small grants with big impact," said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. "When Vermonters purchase a Conservation License Plate, they are protecting clean water as well as conserving wildlife and important habitats for future generations."
Alyssa Schuren, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation, agreed. "These grants illustrate the importance of providing tools to local communities and their partners for protecting waterways and aquatic habitats," said Schuren. "By building on small successes such as these, we make a difference in protecting clean water statewide."
The grant application period opens in October and closes in late November or early December. Program information can be found on the VTDEC website. The easiest way to find it is to search for "vt watershed grant."
The conservation license plate application can be found at http://www.vtfishandwildlife.com/get_involved/donate/conservation_license_plate.
Proceeds from the sale of conservation license plates also go to the Nongame Wildlife Fund to support the Wildlife Diversity Program.