The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is encouraging people to include the 2016 Vermont Habitat Stamp among their year-end donations. The $15 stamp is available on the Fish & Wildlife Department’s website and is also available as a voluntary add-on to 2016 hunting or fishing licenses when purchased online at vtfishandwildlife.com.
The Habitat Stamp was introduced in Vermont in 2015 and has received widespread support, raising more than $30,000 in direct donations in its initial months. Because the funds can be used to leverage federal dollars, the program may bring over $100,000 to habitat conservation in Vermont.
“We want to thank everyone who bought a Habitat Stamp in its first season,” said Louis Porter, commissioner of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. “We were deeply gratified by the support we received from people who care about saving wild spaces in Vermont. Due in part to these generous donations, the department celebrated the grand opening of newly conserved lands at Lemon Fair Wildlife Management Area in Addison County this fall.”
Fashioned after the successful federal Duck Stamp, the Habitat Stamp is priced at $15, but donors can give any amount from $5 to $500. The stamp comes in the mail as a sticker, in addition to being printed directly on hunting or fishing licenses.
“Thanks to the Habitat Stamp, our continuing efforts to conserve critical habitat throughout Vermont will receive an important push in 2016,” said Porter. “For example, the department anticipates using Habitat Stamp funds to create a brand new wildlife management area by the Clyde River in the Northeast Kingdom. Conserving these lands will protect essential wetlands and riverbank habitat along one of Vermont’s truly scenic and premier salmon and trout rivers.”
The Clyde River wetlands are home to moose, bald eagles, river otters, and ducks and geese. The department is also looking to use Habitat Stamp funds to hire staff to work directly on habitat management efforts throughout the state.
“The Fish & Wildlife Department is uniquely positioned to conserve habitat in Vermont because we can leverage every dollar donated for nearly three dollars in federal funds,” said Porter. “Even a small donation makes a big difference for habitat conservation and management. As forests and fields in Vermont yield to development, the Habitat Stamp will allow us to continue to protect the critical open spaces that Vermonters enjoy.”