Warren’s Conservation Reserve Fund
Warren's Conservation Reserve Fund was created to conserve forest lands through purchasing land and conservation easements. The Warren Conservation Commission is responsible for the fund and how money is spent. Each year a separate article is voted upon at Town Meeting to maintain the fund. Currently, the fund contains between 10 to 20 thousand dollars.
Like all commissions in Vermont, Warren's Conservation Commission is staffed by volunteers who administer the fund and work on the various projects. The Vermont Land Trust has been an important partner on many of the projects that fund dollars have been used for. Fund dollars are used as a town match to leverage funding from other sources.
The reason why this organization can accomplish their goals is because they have the money to do them. Since they have around 10 to 20 thousand, they can use the money to conserve any land that is at risk. They also have successfully gained areas with development on them, and created ways to practice both conservation ethics on development areas and forested areas. When the organization gains an excluded land, they feel accomplished that they can supply land to the public. By having a lot of money, they are able to accomplish the projects they want to do. It helps with purchasing land and easements, which they can protect and maintain. By having town meetings every year, they are able to gain money. With the town meetings and other events, there is a lot of involvement within the organization, whether it is volunteer work or work from the ones within the organization.
Depending on the project:
The Vermont Land Trust
Friends of the Mad River
Warren Planning Commissions
Vermont Housing Conservation Board
Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission
The biggest reason why they have been successful is because the town has had the concern for conservation. Also, Warren fully supports the actions that this organization takes. Their community knows that they are protecting the environment and want to contribute as much as they can do. They gather the funds they get from the town and other fundraising money they get and use it to work on all their projects. In order for projects to get done, the town has to fully commit to the actions. Warren wants to focus on the community's perspective, as much as theirs. Since the 80's they have had a supportive conservation ethic within the town. Once they adopted the Transfer Development Rights (TDR), they have gained more lands to work with. This includes working on areas like Sugar Bush and lakes around the town. The organization was able to purchase lakes that weren't public and made them public. They get to oversee the money they have by the conservation reserve fund.
The biggest challenge they face are the people who oppose the projects they do. There will always be people who don't agree with your work and the process is to try and figure out a way for them to see what the actions will entail. Warren makes sure that they keep up to date with the information they need, and they show everyone that they do, do their homework. The challenge is they have to clearly show it and there will be people who fully don't see it. The town of Warren is not equipped to own a lot of land, it is a smaller town and can really only hold what the town has to store. Since lands have taxes, they take these taxable lands and either lower the taxes on them or zero them out. It is a lot of paper work to fill out and also takes time to get the process in hand. When they acquire more land they have to figure out how to manage it, along with the other land they have. Since their only funds come from the Warren Conservation Fund, they have to ration out what they use it for. They also have to create ways to obtain more money. The town works better if they only own the easements to the land. When they own both there is more maintenance to go through. It is better if they watch over the maintenance in that kind of situation.