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VINS Receives $10,000 for  Invasive Species Program

Quechee — The Vermont Institute of Natural Science has been awarded a $10,000 grant to support an invasive species management program in the Ottauquechee River watershed.

“The Ottauquechee River watershed has become infested with over 30 species of noxious invasive plants, a situation made worse in August 2011 by Tropical Storm Irene, which helped to spread these plants to new, formerly unaffected areas,” VINS said in a news release last week. “These invasive species are degrading habitat within the watershed, crowding out native plants, decreasing the economic and production value of agricultural lands, and burdening municipal and state agencies with expensive removal and restoration projects.”

The program is led by the Ottauquechee Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area, a group of individuals, organizations and businesses working to address the problem. Its steering committee includes representatives of VINS, Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Historic Park, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, the Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation District, The Nature Conservancy, and the Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

The grant, awarded through Vermont Community Foundation’s Innovations and Collaborations program, will enable the group “to make some real headway on current projects and address new problem sites as well,” said Mandy Vellia, the management area’s coordinator.