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Vermont River Conservancy joined a confluence of conservation and housing partners at the Vermont State House Friday, February 17th, for the 35th birthday of our longtime and supportive partner, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB).
Since 1987, VHCB’s grants and loans have made it possible for the Vermont Housing and Conservation Coalition (VHCC), an alliance of nonprofits, to work with municipalities and state agencies in successfully addressing some of Vermont’s most challenging issues. We met with legislators to celebrate the program’s amazing track record and to advocate for funding VHCB at its full statutory share in the new fiscal year.
Representing Vermont River Conservancy, Conservation Director Erin De Vries testified in front of the House Committee on Corrections and Institutions. Erin spoke to the critical role that VHCB plays in our acquisition, protection, and public access projects. Thanks to this program, VRC has made leaps and bounds in building flood resiliency, improving water quality, and connecting Vermonters and visitors with beautiful lands throughout our state.
With Vermont River Conservancy’s two newest team members, Hayley Kolding and Remy Crettol, cheering her on, Erin also addressed the unique intersection of housing and conservation in Vermont. When partners from each of these two worlds work under the same umbrella toward shared goals, they can create a more resilient, just, and equitable future for Vermonters. Projects that address both conservation and housing, Erin told our legislators, improve community infrastructure. They foster economic development, and support health and well being.
With so much collaboration to celebrate, we also heard unanimous acknowledgement that there is much more work to do to address Vermont’s affordability crisis, the workforce shortage, and the effects of climate change on our communities, economy, and ecosystems. VRC is fortunate to have strong partners who share a similar vision of supporting communities.
Why are we proud of the work we do as an organization, and as part of VHCC? From creating riverside parks and restoring floodplains, to building affordable housing and workforce capacity, we and our partners do good work – and it’s good for us all, wildlife and people.