|It would be impossible to summarize all the ways the Agency of Natural Resources impacts the lives and economy of Vermonters in this brief document. From the management of our state forests to programs that encourage composting of waste, the Agencys 550 employees are working across Vermont to protect and enhance our states air, water, forests, and other natural resources. We at the Agency consider ourselves to be stewards of Vermonts natural environment for the benefit of this and future generations.
The Agency of Natural Resources consists of three departments:
In addition, the Agencys Central Office supports the departments by providing several administrative, planning, information technology, and human resource functions.
The Agencys total budget for fiscal 2000 is $54.5 million, of which $10.2 million comes from the states General Fund. The Agencys budget accounts for 1.3 percent of the state budget.
Between its state appropriation and federal funds, the Agency of Natural Resources in Fiscal Year 1999 distributed $27,965,190 in grants and loans. (See chart.) In addition to the environmental benefits of upgrading sewage treatment facilities and increasing recycling rates, these grants and loans boost the states economy and nurture emerging technologies.
To protect the health of our environment and to help ensure that all businesses compete on an equal footing, the Agency of Natural Resources Enforcement Division vigorously investigates complaints lodged by Vermonters. The great majority of investigations carried out by the Enforcement Division commence with a complaint filed by citizens who believe they have witness a violation of Vermonts environmental laws.
For the 10-month period that ended October 31, 1999, the Enforcement Division received 1,195 citizen complaints and closed 973 complaintswith the latter figure including complaints received prior to the beginning of 1999. Among the closed cases, no violations were found in 427 investigations, violations were voluntarily corrected in 302, and the Agency took enforcement actions in 63.
Fish and Wildlife
The overall health of Vermonts game species is strong. Good management and a series of mild winters have combined to increase the states populations of deer, moose, bear, and turkey. The 94,977 resident and non-resident deer hunters in 1998 took 20,068 deer, and Vermonts total deer population stood at nearly 150,000 as of early autumn, 1999. As for Vermonts largest game animal, 120 of the 200 sets of hunters with moose hunting permits in 1999 were successful.
Unquestionably, 1999 was a banner year for Vermont State Parks, as the system celebrated it 75th anniversary. Governor Howard Dean, Vermonts congressional delegation, and many others kicked off the season-long celebration in May with a opening day ceremony at Mount Philo State Park, Vermonts first state park. Throughout the summer, parks across the state featured concerts, balloon festivals, nature walks, circuses, and other special events to mark the systems diamond anniversary.
The Vermont General Assembly also made 1999 a special year by approving a special $2.9 million appropriation to begin upgrading park facilities. Although one of the best state park systems in the nation, Vermonts parks are showing their age. The State Park system was largely built in the 1930s, with major construction of campgrounds, facilities, and trails by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and was greatly expanded in the 1960s. A 1999 engineering study of all park facilities and structures concluded that the park system needs approximately $31 million to bring the infrastructure to acceptable standards. These renovations will not only make the entire operation less costly to maintain over the long run, but will make the parks more attractive to park visitors, which will boost attendance and revenue.
The Agency of Natural Resources continues to expand its use of the World Wide Web as a means of providing information about our states environment to Vermonters and a global readership. The Agencys websitewww.anr. state.vt.ushas begun the development of several new features in 1999, including the ability to view and query dynamic GIS maps online. Maps are expected to cover such themes as watershed planning, biodiversity, E-911 information, protected lands, water supply, and waste management.
Like everyone else using this still-young technology, we at the Agency are struggling to understand how best to provide information and receive feedback on our website. Several of our web pages have built-in links designed to allow readers to automatically send e-mail to someone who can deal with specific concerns. In addition, the Agency is planning online surveys, suggestion boxes, and other interactive applications to gather input from the users of our website.
By January 2001, we hope to have electronic commerce applications running primarily for taking state park reservations and allowing the purchase of some hunting and fishing licenses online. Much of this depends on coordinating efforts being undertaken by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development.
Environment 2000 is published by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, 103 South Main Street, Center Building, Waterbury, Vermont, 05671-0301.
Both this Web site and the printed report were designed by Page Designs, Inc., Burlington, Vermont.
Several photos in this report were provided by the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.
This publication is available upon request in large print, braille, or audio cassette.
The Agency of Natural Resources is an equal opportunity agency and offers all persons the benefit of participating in each of its programs and competing in all areas of employment regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual preference, or other non-merit factors.