As always, the net proceeds raised at the WaterWheel tables will be donated to the nonprofit hosted at each show. So far over $423,000 has been given to more than 180 nonprofits, thanks to the outstanding support of the Phish community. The Register to Vote and Fishman 2004 campaigns will also be in full swing, now on their "election year" footing. If you're concerned about the leadership of this country or just want a decent band to play at the Inaugural Festivities, stop by the table and get registered.
WaterWheel is pleased to announce its 2003 grants for Lake Champlain. $289,000 has been given to 14 organizations working on environmental issues affecting Lake Champlain, bringing the total amount donated to Lake causes to $1,054,700. The largest grant is $105,000 to ECHO at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain. ECHO opened its innovative lake aquarium and science center on the waterfront in Burlington, VT earlier this year.
WaterWheel continues its support of the Conservation Law Foundation's (CLF) clean water advocacy with a grant of $80,000. Its Vermont office has been a consistent advocate for actual enforcement of the Clean Water Act and other environmental protection laws. An additional $40,000 was donated to CLF's nascent Lake Champlain Lakekeeper, part of the Waterkeeper Alliance. The Lakekeeper's mission is to protect and restore Lake Champlain through advocacy and by enlisting public support for the cause. The Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC) received its fifth grant from WaterWheel for $30,000. In conjunction with CLF, VNRC won a major legal victory earlier this year when the Water Resources Board rejected the Agency of Natural Resources' "Watershed Improvement Permits", issued the previous year despite the water bodies in question not meeting Vermont's basic minimum standards for water quality.
Additional grants of $13,000 have been made as part of WaterWheel's small watershed association program. Recipients are volunteer-led and locally-based watershed groups who galvanize the community to help with such projects as water quality monitoring and stream bank restoration. These grants went to the Au Sable River Association, Missisquoi River Basin Association, Keeping Track, Voice for the Potash Brook Watershed, Lewis Creek Association, Middlebury River Watershed Partnership, and the Poultney-Mettowee Watershed Partnership.
WaterWheel provided additional support for the Nature Conservancy of Vermont's battle against non-native nuisance species in the Lake with a $10,000 grant. Volunteers and staff have pulled over 200 tons of the plants since 1998, in some areas completely eradicating them. $5,000 was given to the National Wildlife Federation's (NWF) northeast field office for its efforts to protect and restore fish-dependent birds on Lake Champlain. $6,000 will help fund a volunteer water quality monitoring program in the City of Burlington.
Funding for this program is made possible by the sale of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food ice cream. All royalties due to Phish from Phish Food will be donated by WaterWheel to organizations working to improve the environmental well-being of Lake Champlain and its watershed. For more information about these grants and all things WaterWheel, visit the website at http://www.phish.com/waterwheel/.