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Fayston voters invited to forum on Conservation Reserve Fund

The Fayston Natural Resources Committee will host a public forum for town residents to learn more about a proposed Conservation Reserve Fund for the town.

The forum takes place at the Fayston Town Office on November 5 at 6 p.m. The Natural Resources Committee will be asking the town Select Board to make a Conservation Reserve Fund a line item in Fayston's annual town budget. That would mean that funds for conservation could be voted with the budget versus as a separate article at Town Meeting each year.

According to a 2006 survey of Fayston residents, the town's best assets are its rural character, scenic beauty, natural resources and recreational opportunities. Respondents strongly believed in the need to protect and preserve these assets. The Fayston Town plan, adopted by voters in 2008, recommended the creation of a conservation fund to help ensure "the responsible use, careful stewardship, maintenance, preservation and enhancement of Fayston's natural resources, rural character, natural heritage and environmental quality for the benefit of current and future generations." In a time of rapid growth and development in Fayston, a critical tool for achieving this goal is our ability to conserve our land. In 2012, Fayston voters approved the creation of the Fayston Conservation Reserve Fund.

The purpose of the fund is to conserve Fayston land and waters for forestry, wildlife, scenic, agricultural, recreational, and natural area uses. These are more particularly defined as follows:

• To minimize conversion of Fayston's best forest and farmland to non-forestry and non-agricultural uses
• To maintain Fayston's rural character, aesthetics, and scenic values
• To enhance wildlife habitat, water quality, and recreational uses of Fayston's natural landscape
• To preserve open space
• To promote a working landscape by encouraging local forestry and farming
• To educate the public on the value of conserving our natural resources and our rural heritage

At the November 5 meeting there will be an opportunity to discuss the Fayston Conservation Reserve Fund's purpose, priorities and uses, and review process. The fund's guidelines are available at the Fayston Town Office and on the Fayston town website. Contact Lisa Koitzsch at 802-496-9419 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

 

 

 

Fayston Conservation Reserve Fund 
Guidelines 
Approved by the Fayston Select Board on September 23, 2013

Introduction
According to a 2006 survey of Fayston residents, the town’s best assets are its rural character, scenic beauty, natural resources and recreational opportunities. Respondents strongly believed in the need to protect and preserve these assets. The Fayston Town plan, adopted by voters in 2008, recommended the creation of a conservation fund to help ensure “the responsible use, careful stewardship, maintenance, preservation and enhancement of Fayston’s natural resources, rural character, natural heritage and environmental quality for the benefit of current and future generations." In a time of rapid growth and development in Fayston, a critical tool for achieving this goal is our ability to conserve our land. In 2012, Fayston voters approved the creation of the Fayston Conservation Reserve Fund. The guidelines for the use of this fund are outlined below.

I.  Authority
This fund is a reserve fund established per 24 V.S.A. 2804 and shall be known as the Fayston Conservation Reserve Fund.  Under the control of the Fayston Select Board, it shall be held as a separate account and invested as are other public funds and may be expended only for the purposes for which it was authorized by the voters of Fayston at Town Meeting on March 6, 2012:
“Shall the Town establish a Conservation Reserve Fund at a starting amount of $10,000 to help preserve our lands with ecological, cultural, or recreational significance in Fayston?”

II. Purposes of the Fund
The purpose of this fund shall be to conserve Fayston land and waters for forestry, wildlife, scenic, agricultural, recreational, and natural area uses. These are more particularly defined as follows:
To minimize conversion of Fayston’s best forest and farmland to non-forestry and non-agricultural uses
To maintain Fayston's rural character, aesthetics, and scenic values
To enhance wildlife habitat, water quality, and recreational uses of Fayston's natural landscape
To preserve open space
To promote a working landscape by encouraging local forestry and farming
To educate the public on the value of conserving our natural resources and our rural heritage

III. Fund Priorities and Criteria
The following priorities should be used to allocate funds to provide consistent, objective and sound criteria for making land conservation decisions.  All projects should conform to the Fayston Town Plan and demonstrate a clear and important benefit to the residents of Fayston.  Property to be conserved must be located in the Town of Fayston and will be considered based on the criteria below:
1. Projects adjacent to existing town land, public lands, or other conserved lands
2. Projects with existing or potential educational use by the Fayston Elementary School, town residents, and visitors
3. Projects of historic or cultural value to the Town of Fayston
4. Projects of scenic or aesthetic value to the Town of Fayston
5. Projects that provide meaningful recreational access
a. To trails including snowmobiling, skiing, hiking. horseback riding, mountain biking
b. For hunting, fishing and water-based recreation
6. Projects that conserve the working landscape of Fayston
a. Forest lands that support a significant volume of mature timber, and have good access for timber harvesting operations
b. Agricultural lands with prime agricultural soils, demonstrated productivity and the potential for economic viability
7. Projects that protect watersheds, wetlands and ground or surface water from point or non-point source pollution
8. Projects that protect lands identified by Arrowwood Environmental’s  Natural Heritage Element Inventory and Assessment for Fayston that
a. Support threatened or endangered natural communities, plants or wildlife.
b. Preserve large tracts of undeveloped lands
c. Keep Core Habitat Units (CHUs) intact
d. Maintain wildlife travel corridors

IV. Review Process
Before funds can be spent from the Conservation Reserve Fund, the Fayston Natural Resources Committee (FNRC) and the Fayston Select Board will follow procedures to make sure that each project meets the Town’s established criteria and that interested citizens have an opportunity to comment on the proposal, unless the Select Board determines that emergency or confidential action is required. The process is:
1. Landowners, local organizations, Fayston citizens or other towns may approach the FNRC or the Select Board for assistance with a conservation project.
2. The FNRC will review all requests for use of the fund to make sure they meet the priorities and criteria established above.
3. If a project meets the priorities and criteria, the FNRC will make its recommendations to the Select Board and present the proposal for comment at a public forum.
4. Based on input from the FNRC and the public, the Select Board will ultimately approve the project, request more information, or decline the use of funds for the project.

V. Fund Uses
The fund can be used in a number of different ways and a few are listed below. There are many creative and flexible ways to conserve land and this list is not exclusive.
To provide local-matching funds to secure private, state or federal grants for conservation projects
To purchase land or conservation easements in a Fayston-only project, in cooperation with Fayston landowners and/or nonprofit organizations
For technical assistance (including, but not limited to, legal work, surveying, appraisals, stewardship costs, etc.) to landowners who want to place conservation easements on their land 

VI. Fund Sources
FNRC encourages the Town of Fayston to add to the Conservation Reserve Fund annually by either adding a line item in the budget or by a majority vote on an article at Town Meeting.
Funding can also come from voluntary contributions or grants from public or private sources. FNRC may hold fundraising events to support the Conservation Reserve Fund.
The Fund can accept donations designated to benefit specific projects.

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