MONTPELIER, Vt. — The Vermont Habitat Stamp raised $238,513 dollars in 2023 and leveraged a $417,912 federal match, totaling more than $656,000 for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department's land conservation and habitat improvement efforts.
"This is one of our strongest years for the Habitat Stamp since the program was established in 2015," said Fish and Wildlife's Director of Wildlife John Austin. "The growing support for habitat conservation and managing land for wildlife habitat over the past nine years is encouraging."
The Vermont Habitat Stamp is designed to allow anyone who cares about wildlife to help improve habitat for diverse species on private lands and the department's more than 130,000 acres of Wildlife Management Area (WMA) lands. Habitat Stamp funds also go towards both land acquisition projects to expand or create new WMAs and to making improvements on existing WMAs.
In 2023, the department spent $189,355 dollars from the Habitat Stamp Fund. These dollars contributed to habitat improvement assistance with private landowners and conservation partners to benefit native pollinators, songbirds, amphibians, bats, white-tailed deer, turkeys, and other wildlife. A dam on the Saxtons River was removed to restore natural habitat and allow passage for trout and other aquatic organisms. A total of 68 acres of invasive plant control was done on six Fish and Wildlife Department WMAs. A total of 355 acres of wetlands, floodplain and riverbank were added to Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area in Wallingford.
The Habitat Stamp was inspired by the Vermont Migratory Waterfowl Stamp and Federal Duck Stamp which raise funds for wetland conservation from waterfowl hunters who are required to display a stamp along with their license. The Habitat Stamp is a way for conservationists who do not typically purchase a hunting, fishing or trapping license to contribute to the state's habitat conservation efforts.
"Although we can be proud of the Habitat Stamp Fund's accomplishments this year, there is still room to grow," said Austin. "We especially invite Vermonters who do not contribute to conservation by buying a hunting, fishing or trapping license to consider buying a habitat stamp this year. It is one of the most direct ways to funnel your dollars to supporting biodiversity in our state in 2024."
The 2023 Habitat Stamp Annual Report highlighting the conservation work done through the program is available online at www.vtfishandwildlife.com. Matching funds for habitat projects sponsored by the stamp have come from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.
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