2023 GMP - Zetterstrom Environmental Award
We are thrilled and grateful to announce that Friends of Waterbury Reservoir has been honored with the prestigious 2023 GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award! Award highlights Waterbury nonprofit’s work to protect, improve and enhance the ecological, recreational, and community values of the Waterbury Reservoir
Waterbury, Vt. – Volunteers gathered at the Waterbury Library on Wednesday to celebrate winning the GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental award which is awarded annually to a person or organization making a big difference in protecting Vermont’s natural areas and wildlife. Green Mountain Power presented the award and a $2,500 donation to the organization to continue its work, which includes combatting invasive species in the reservoir and preserving habitat for loons and other wildlife.
“The volunteers who make up Friends of Waterbury Reservoir, are both humbled and honored to be selected for this award, and we’re proud to continue Meeri Zetterstrom’s legacy of advocacy and commitment to the environment through our work in Waterbury,” said Eric Chittenden, president of Friends of Waterbury Reservoir. “The reservoir is a tremendous community resource and protecting it for all to enjoy is what motivates us,” Chittenden said.
Among the achievements the group highlighted in its award application are that it manages the Aquatic Invasive Species Greeter program in collaboration with the Town of Waterbury and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources which successfully blocks the introduction of new invasives; the Monofilament Fishline re-cycling program which is preventing wildlife from becoming entangled in fish line; an ongoing Loon conservation project with a nesting platform in the northern arm of the reservoir; and swimmer/boater safety education campaign.
“There are so many people and organizations working to make Vermont and the planet a better place, and we’re thrilled to honor Friends of Waterbury Reservoir. The volunteers in this group are delivering results for the environment and for the community,” said Kristin Carlson, GMP’s vice president of external relations.
The GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental award honors the conservation legacy of the late Meeri Zetterstrom, a Milton resident who helped save the Osprey population in Vermont through advocacy over 25 years that led the state, utilities, and private landowners to work together to protect Osprey nesting areas.
About Friends of Waterbury Reservoir
The Friends of Waterbury Reservoir work diligently to preserve and enhance user expectations, lake water quality and protection of wildlife.
Since we adopted ANR’s Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) program 8 years ago, no new invasive species have been detected in the Waterbury Reservoir — despite the spreading of AIS into many nearby lakes.
Invasive species have literally taken over many lakes and ponds throughout Vermont, including huge tracts along the shores of Lake Champlain and lakes surrounding the Waterbury Reservoir. Because of the generosity of our supporters, our 2023 AIS “greeter” Program has been the most robust ever and our work is paying off. We must maintain our vigilance and continue to protect the Waterbury Reservoir from being overrun by these interloping aquatic invasive hitchhikers.
Our loon nesting program is making significant progress, contributing to the conservation of these fascinating birds. With guidance from the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, each spring we place a floating next platform at the Northern arm of the Reservoir. By allowing the nest to float up and down with the fluctuations of water level, loons are more likely to have a successful nesting season.
Additionally, our monofilament fishing line and harmful lead tackle collection initiative and public education has been instrumental in keeping the reservoir clean and reducing the potential harm to wildlife. Through these efforts, we are making a notable difference in preserving the lake’s ecosystem. Since 1994 we have been educating, building, and putting in the necessary work to help positively impact the Waterbury Reservoir.
We work closely with Vermont Forests Parks and Recreation, and the floating rangers who provide valuable assistance, safety guidance, and other information to the remote campsite users. This year we provided 'safe food hang bags' that they could offer to remote campsite users to avoid unwanted visits from local critters.
Our entire Board of Directors and volunteers deserve special thanks! They are all energetic, creative, and engaged. Without this type of support, organizations such as the Friends of Waterbury Reservoir cease to exist.
Our work comes from the heart and a special caring for our lakes and the natural environment we are fortunate to be living in. Our success comes from the efforts and the financial support of those who share the commitment to protect the Waterbury Reservoir.