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Basin Program announces grants for cultural projects

BURLINGTON - 46 Vermont and New York local organizations will receive a combined $275,000 through local grants awarded by the Lake Champlain Basin Program last month.

Grant recipients will implement cultural heritage and natural resources projects designed to improve the future of the Lake Champlain Basin.

Projects range from cleaning-up public access areas, to removing invasive species along shorelines, to reducing stormwater runoff through low-cost landscaping techniques.

23 cultural heritage projects were chosen for funding, many of which will support the upcoming Quadricentennial and work towards long-term cultural heritage recognition for the region. Examples of approved projects include a celebration of Wabanaki Heritage, a Franco-American workshop and festival, and interpretive exhibits in many communities.

These taxpayer-funded appropriations, as well as other significant support for Lake Champlain stewardship, were obtained through U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

"More than $850,000 was requested through 121 applications this year," noted Bill Howland, program manager for the LCBP. Local groups often utilize community volunteers for specific tasks, or provide matching local funds which can stretch the federal dollars further.

"Nearly every project was worthy of funding, making a challenging task for grant reviewers," said Howland.

Howland claimed that the local grants program is critical for helping local organizations and municipalities implement small, but important, steps of the overall management plan for Lake Champlain, Opportunities for Action.

"We hope to offer another round of local implementation grants in 2009."

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