'Silver Jackets' Hope to Reduce Risk of Flooding

By Spencer Conlin | sconlin@mychamplainvalley.com

Published 08/26 2016 07:28PM

Updated 08/26 2016 07:28PM

During a ceremony Friday in Barre, state and federal agencies signed an agreement and formed the Silver Jackets Program.

"It opens the door for more funding, more technical assistance from the Army Corps and a number of other partners so it really is a great opportunity for us to bring more resources to Vermont,” said Pat Moulton, Agency of Commerce and Community Development Secretary.

The partnership includes agencies like FEMA and the United States Army Corps.

The City of Barre was also commended for its flood resiliency project that will limit future damage to its downtown area.

"Essentially what we are doing is buying out three homes, we are creating a settling area so when the flood waters come and they will come again, the water and debris has a chance to settle before it hits our downtown area and the core city,” said Thom Lauzon, Barre City Mayor.

It’s projects like these the partnership will help fund and support moving forward.

Moulton said, "The next time it rains really hard we want to be prepared, we want floodplains to be maintained, culverts are the right size, that homes are elevated or moved better yet."

As Barre City’s Mayor, Lauzon has experienced four floods, he says preparedness is a must for every community.

Lauzon said, "Barre we'll be spending 1.5 to 2 million dollars in mitigation efforts, we spent five times that the last time the city flooded in terms of the private property damage it was almost $10 million, it is huge.”

Lauzon says the Silver Jackets Program will be crucial for not only Barre but for the entire nation as time goes on.

"Let's just accept it as fact climate change is real and it is here, it doesn't really matter who caused it these significant storm events will happen with more frequency over the next 25 to 50 years,” said Lauzon.

The name Silver Jackets refers to what the group will be wearing when responding to a natural disaster.

The partnership has already submitted an application for funding to update the flood maps for the City of Montpelier.

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