Skip to main content

PES Working Group Extended by Act 129 of 2020

Act 129 of 2020 amended Act 83 of 2019 to rename the title of the PES Working Group to "Payment for Ecosystem Services and Soil Health Working Group," to establish this Working Group until January 2022, to direct the inclusion of specific additional seats, and to lay out the charges for this Working Group. These changes followed several recommendations of the PES Working Group as laid out in the January 15 2020 Report to Legislature.

The Working Group is charged to address the following items and compile a report of recommendations due to the legislature on January 15, 2022:

  1. a recommended payment for ecosystem services approach the State should pursue that benefits water quality, flood resilience, and climate stability, including ecosystem services to prioritize and capital or funding sources available for payments;
  2. a recommended definition of healthy soils, a recommended method or systems for measuring soil health and other indicators of ecosystem health, and a recommended tool for modeling and monitoring soil health;
  3. a recommended price, supported by evidence or other justification, for a unit of soil health or other unit of ecosystem service or benefit provided;
  4. proposed eligibility criteria for persons participating in the program;
  5. proposed methods for incorporating the recommended payment for ecosystem services approach into existing research and funding programs;
  6. an estimate of the potential future benefits of the recommended payment for ecosystem services approach, including the projected duration of the program;
  7. an estimate of the cost to the State to administer the recommended payment for ecosystem services approach; and
  8. proposed funding or sources of funds to implement and operate the recommended payment for ecosystem services approach.
The meetings of the Working Group are open to the public, and public comment will be welcomed for a defined period of time towards the close of regular meeting hours. Public comment can be submitted in writing at anytime to:

Membership of the working group, appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture following the charge of the Legislature, includes the following individuals and organizations:

  1. the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets or designee - Deputy Secretary Alyson Eastman (Co-Chair)
  2. the Secretary of Natural Resources or designee - Marli Rupe (DEC)
  3. a representative of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board - Stacy Cibula (Co-Chair)
  4. a member of the former Dairy Water Collaborative - Brian Kemp (CVFC)
  5. two persons representing farmer’s watershed alliances in the State - Paul Doton (CRWFA) & Scott Magnan (FWA)
  6. a representative of the Natural Resources Conservation Council - Jill Arace (VACD)
  7. a representative of the Gund Institute for Environment of the University of Vermont - Alissa White
  8. a representative of the University of Vermont (UVM) Extension - Joshua Faulkner
  9. two members of the Agricultural Water Quality Partnership - Matt Vaughan (LCBP) & Vicky Drew (NRCS-VT)
  10. a representative of small-scale, diversified farming - Maddie Kempner (NOFA-VT)
  11. a member of the Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition - Cat Buxton / Didi Pershouse
  12. a person engaged in farming other than dairy farming - Ed Pitcavage (Philo Ridge Farm)
  13. a representative of an environmental organization with a statewide membership that has technical expertise or fundraising experience - Heather Furman (The Nature Conservancy in Vermont)
  14. an agricultural economist from a university or other relevant organization within the State - David Conner (University of Vermont)
  15. an ecosystem services specialist from UVM Extension - Juan Alvez
  16. a soil scientist - Meredith Albers (NRCS-VT)


Ryan Patch | VAAFM Water Quality Division

802-272-0323 |