Changes Coming to the Regional Forest Economy Partnership Program


On August 14, the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) announced $7.2 Million in new awards to 9 projects, as part of the Regional Forest Economy Partnership (RFEP). 2019 was the first year of the RFEP program, which was created to focus on innovative initiatives to engage a regional approach in addressing the decline in forest-based economies. We are thrilled to have deployed all of our available funds for the RFEP program in 2019 in the first and second rounds, which means that we will not be entertaining Letters of Intent for the potential third round that was previously announced through this program’s Notice of Funding Opportunity. 
NBRC has heard, and is responding to, feedback regarding this new program. RFEP is supported by an Advisory Board, which will work closely with NBRC staff and Commissioners in the coming months to clarify strategic alignment between Commission objectives and a new Notice of Funding Opportunity in 2020, contingent on available funds. Please stay tuned to our website for an announcement about the second year of RFEP, and thank you for your interest in the program! 


Regional Forest Economy Partnership Awards Announced


August 14, 2019
Contact:  Rich Grogan
(802) 461-8089
Regional Forest Economy Partnership Awards Announced 
The Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) has approved $7.2 Million in new awards to 9 projects as of August 14, 2019. The organizations receiving these awards are: 
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation - $1,000,000:  To design and permit a biomass combined heat and power energy plant at Long Falls Paperboard.
East Millinocket Industrials - $450,000: To redevelop the East Millinocket paper mill site into a multi-industrial complex. 
Maine Foundation - $646,396: A partnership model building on stakeholder-driven work to focus on the development of community revitalization projects in communities most impacted by mill closures. 
Northern Forest Center - $908,277:  To launch the Northern Forest Rural Destination Development Initiative in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York to attract visitors and improve the quality of life for residents. 
Preservation Trust of Vermont (through the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance) - $1,000,000: To establish the Northern Heritage Economy Program in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York to help communities undertake community-driven preservation projects with strong economic revitalization potential.
The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board - $624,060: To advance the agricultural economy by launching the Northeast Agricultural Business Assistance Network throughout the four-states in the NBRC region. 
Vermont Technical College - $1,000,000: To create educational pathways to train and educate a skilled workforce in the forestry field for better woodland management and stewardship. 
Workforce Development Institute (WDI) - $571,267:  To focus on workforce development and training for jobs in the forest products industry.  
University of Maine - $1,000,000: To build a demonstration facility cellulose nanofiber (CNF) plant to speed the commercialization of a new forest product. 
The awards were made within the Regional Forest Economy Partnership, a new NBRC-led initiative, which was driven by a desire to focus on innovative initiatives to engage a regional approach in addressing the decline in forest-based economies. The funds for this program, and all NBRC programs, are available thanks to the support of the Congressional Delegations of all four NBRC states: Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. 
During the first year of the Regional Forest Economy Partnerships initiative, NBRC received a wide range of applications from new and established organizations, which were reviewed by an external Advisory Board, consisting of equal representation from all four states in the region, and Commission members. Applications were scored on a range of variables, including their regional scope, potential for transformative change, and ability to implement.  
“The NBRC is excited to work with this year’s awardees to move an impressive slate of innovative projects forward,” said Executive Director Rich Grogan. He added: “There is not one simple solution to improving our forest-based economies in the region, but we feel that this collection of projects endorses the view that a diversity of well-researched approaches can collaboratively engage our most critical economic development issues.” 
Depending on the availability of funds in 2020, the NBRC anticipates another round of Regional Forest Economy Partnership awards next year. Please refer to NBRC’s website,, for announcements about future Funding Opportunities. All funds for the 2019 round have been expended as of the awards referenced above. 
Created in 2008, the Northern Border Regional Commission is a federal-state partnership whose mission is to help alleviate economic distress and encourage private sector job creation throughout the northern counties of Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. In its eleven-year history, the commission has awarded 248 grants amounting to more than $56 million across the four states through its primary Economic & Infrastructure Development (EID) grant program and other special initiatives. 

Notice of Public Meeting


Notice of Public Meeting

The Northern Border Regional Commission will be holding its semi-annual meeting and is open to the public.


Trapp Family Lodge

700 Trapp Hill Road

Stowe, Vermont 05672

Mozart Room

Date and Time

August 12th, 2019 12:30 PM-5:15 PM

August 13th, 2019 8:30 AM-12:00 PM


Discussion of NBRC grants, funding, and other Commission business

Contact For More Information

Phone: (603) 369-3001



Northern Tier Dairy Summit 2019


Northern Tier Dairy Summit 2019

Grogan To Become First Northern Border Regional Commission Executive Director


Northern Border Regional Commission Federal Cochair Harold B. Parker announced today that Rich Grogan of Vermont will become the first Executive Director of the Northern Border Regional Commission. Grogan is currently the Executive Director of Community Capital of Vermont.

“The Northern Border Regional Commission has grown tenfold since its inception more than a decade ago, maturing into an organization that communities rely on to implement infrastructure and economic development projects,” said Parker. “Rich understands the needs of the region, has a deep experience in organizational management, and will be a great advocate for the communities, businesses and people the Commission serves.”

Grogan will oversee the administration of more than $20 million a year in federal funds invested in northern border communities from Niagara Falls to the Gulf of Maine. The Commission, which consists of the presidentially-appointed Federal Cochair and the four governors of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York, will charge Grogan with developing a long-term strategic vision for revitalization in partnership with community and economic development organizations across the region.  

“The communities of the Northern Border Regional Commission are poised for positive transition,” Grogan said.  “Places like Millinocket, Littleton, Burke, and Saranac are investing in themselves, changing the narrative about rural places, and capitalizing on the outdoor recreation economy. Every community has its own distinct assets, and this unique federal-state partnership helps each community capitalize on these, and lift the entire region.”

Grogan is the Executive Director of Community Capital of Vermont, a statewide organization whose mission is to help small businesses and lower income entrepreneurs prosper by providing flexible financing and business advisory services. Grogan was a leader at the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center for six years, where he served as state director from 2015 to 2018 before moving to Community Capital. Grogan received his Doctorate from Michigan State University, a Masters in Public Administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a degree in business from Wake Forest University. He lives in Reading, Vermont with his wife and three horses.

Created in the 2008 Farm Bill, NBRC is a federal-state partnership to reduce economic distress and encourage private-sector job creation throughout the northern counties of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. Since its inception, the Commission has awarded tens of millions of dollars, leveraging more than $100 million of investment in the region and implementing more than 150 projects across the four states. 

- May 14th, 2019


Opportunity Zones and the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council


The NBRC has formally accepted membership on the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council.  The NBRC is proud to be on this council and thank President Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson for this opportunity.

Official White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Invitation

See below links for information on the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, as well as information on Opportunity Zones

Addressing Geographic Inequality by Promoting Investment in Opportunity Zones

The White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council: Completed Program Targeting Actions

EIG Certified Economic Opportunity Zones Map

Assistance to Support Recreation Economy


News Releases

Contact Information: 
EPA Press Office (

WASHINGTON (April 11, 2019) — Today, in support of the Trump Administration’s Executive Order on Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service and the Northern Border Regional Commission  in announcing assistance to help communities revitalize their economy through outdoor recreation.

“Outdoor recreation not only plays an important role in the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans, but it also generates billions in economic activity and supports millions of jobs,” said EPA Administrator Wheeler. “We look forward to working with communities and our federal partners on strategies that can grow the local recreation economy and revitalize main street while protecting our vital natural resources.”

“By partnering alongside EPA and the Northern Border Commission, the Forest Service is proud to help communities deliver recreation experiences that better meet the needs of visitors and support local economies,” said Vicki Christiansen, USDA Forest Service Chief. “We are committed to sustaining the nation’s forests and grasslands through public-private partnerships that engage people directly in the shared stewardship of their natural resources.”

“We are excited to launch this collaborative effort to provide opportunities to establish outdoor recreation as a prominent economic sector of rural economies,” said Harold B. Parker, Federal Co-Chair of NBRC.

 According to the Outdoor Industry Association’s 2017 report on The National Outdoor Recreation Economy, outdoor activities – including hiking, biking, boating, fishing, hunting, birdwatching, off-road vehicle riding, skiing, snowmobiling, and viewing historic places – generated $887 billion in annual spending and created more than seven million jobs. These activities can bring new investment to local economies, heighten interest in conservation of forests and other natural resources, and improve quality of life for residents and visitors.

Through this latest federal assistance, a planning team will help communities bring together local residents and other stakeholders to decide on strategies and an action plan to grow the local outdoor recreation economy. The planning assistance process will take place over a period of four to six months, with a focal point being a two-day facilitated community workshop. Participants will work together to identify a vision, goals, and specific actions to realize the locally set goals.

Partner communities are encouraged to pursue activities that foster environmentally friendly community development and main street revitalization through the conservation and sustainable use of public or private forests or other natural resources. Examples include:

  • building or expanding trail networks to expand use and attract visitors and new businesses
  • ​developing in-town amenities, such as broadband service, quality housing, or local shops, restaurants, or breweries, to serve residents and help attract new visitors and residents with an interest in nearby outdoor assets;
  • marketing main street as a gateway to nearby natural lands and recreational opportunities; and
  • developing a community consensus on the management of outdoor assets.

EPA and its federal partners expect to announce in summer 2019 the selection of eight communities for planning assistance.  The deadline for application is May 31, 2019. Applications may be submitted on behalf of any U.S. community. Special consideration will be given to communities that are:

  • small towns;
  • economically disadvantaged, such as those in Opportunity Zones; and/or
  • in the Northern Border Region.

EPA’s Smart Sectors program also provides support to grow the outdoor recreation economy. In 2018, EPA offices in the New England and Mountains and Plains regions established Smart Sectors programs that recognize the wealth of natural resources and outdoor recreational opportunities that can be leveraged to create jobs, spur new businesses, and support economic revitalization.

The USDA Forest Service develops and implements place-based recreation planning using collaborative processes with communities and outdoor recreation and tourism providers within regional destination areas. Forest Service recreation programs support over 205,000 jobs, the majority of which are in rural gateway communities near national forests.  The agency partners with states, tribes, local communities, and landowners to promote shared stewardship of public and privately-owned forests and grasslands.

The Northern Border Regional Commission provides federal funds for critical economic and community development projects throughout the northeast.  These investments lead to new jobs being created and leverages substantial private sector investments. 

For more information:

For more information about EPA Community Revitalization:

For more information about USDA Forest Service: 

For more information about the Northern Border Regional Commission:

For more information about EPA Region 1 Smart Sectors Recreational Economy Partnership:

For more information about EPA Region 8 Smart Sectors Recreational Economy Partnership:

Priorities Set for 2019


Priorities Set for 2019 State Economic & Infrastructure Grant, to include Opportunity Zones

Click on the link below for the 2019 scoring criteria

2019 SEID Priorities 

Regional Forest Economy Partnership Announced


Northern Border Regional Commission is pleased to announce a new opportunity for regional approaches to economic development. 
The purpose of the Regional Forest Economy Partnership is to address the economic shift produced by the chronic and consistent decline of the forest products industry that has led to displacement of a skilled workforce and significant negative demographic changes in the rural areas of the Northern Border Regional Commission region. With a goal to increase the ability of the four-state region to attract new opportunities, that are highly leveraged, transformational investments that have a fundamental impact on community economic revitalization.



Each State scores the applications received within their state independently. Generally, each state creates a team of reviewers and has access to a group of consultants who have specialized knowledge on scientific or technical expert opinion that provide guidance when needed. Final decisions about awards are approved jointly between the Federal Co-Chair and the Governor’s Alternates (the five members that make up board of the Northern Border Regional Commission). The scoring system for each state is provided below. If the application is for a multi-state project, each state will score the application independently. While States will consult with one another in order to strive for consistency, a multi-state application may be awarded in one state and not in another.

All NBRC application materials are available here  (the link to upload the application will go ‘live’ April 1)
Applications due before 5pm, May 11, 2018 



NBRC Strategic Plan for 2017-2021


NBRC Strategic Plan for 2017-2021

Every five Years, the NBRC is mandated by Congress to produce a strategic plan.  This strategic plan for 2017-2021 will guide the Commission’s programs and investments as it seeks to help the Northern Border region emerge from a period of significant economic transition and challenge. The Commission’s strategies are designed to capitalize on regional assets to grow and retain wealth in the region, and are informed by local priorities identified by public, private, and not-for-profit stakeholders.  

The draft Strategic Plan is the result of interview with over 200 regional stakeholders, consideration of existing State and regional economic development plans, participation in economic development forums from around the region, and economic and demographic data collection. 

The Plan has been approved by the NBRC Federal Co-Chair and representatives of the Governors of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine. Contractors assisting to development plan were the Northern Forest Center, Concord, NH. 

Vermont Governor Phil Scott Elected as First NBRC State Co-Chair


Press Release

14 FEBRUARY 2018

Newport, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott and Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) Federal Co-Chair Mark Scarano were in Newport Wednesday to announce that Scott will serve as the Commission’s first state co-chair. 

Story Link