VT's Flood Resilience Helps Towns Nationwide

Published 07/16 2014 06:11PM

Updated 07/16 2014 07:31PM

WAITSFIELD, Vt. - Just last week the Environmental Protection Agency released a new six page Flood Resilience Checklist, and it was inspired by Central Vermont's recovery from Irene.

"They used the Mad River Valley as a classroom,” Joshua Schwartz said. He’s worked closely with the EPA as Executive Director of the Mad River Valley Planning District.

Communities from around the nation can now use the checklist, and what the Mad River Valley learned, to assess just how flood ready each city or town is.

“This is a conversation that is not just happening in this communality or in the state of Vermont, but across the country, and so it was a great opportunity to have the expertise and the support from the EPA,” Schwartz said.

Like the Mad River Valley Planning District, the document focuses on conserving land near rivers, protecting buildings along the water, and limiting run off after it rains. Friends of the Mad River focuses on those things too.

Right now it’s working with town of Fayston to increase the size of culverts, an effort to limit future flooding.

"The role of the Friends of Mad River is to figure out where we have some problems and where we have opportunities to fix them, but also to bring resources to those places to allow that to happen," Friends of the Mad River Executive Director Corrie Miller said.

In Waitsfield, flood preparations started long before Irene even hit. In fact, before that storm struck, there was already a plan in the works to rehabilitate the Waitsfield Village Bridge. Of course the storm complicated that rehab project, but it does continue today.

The town is also continually revising its emergency management plan. This year officials want to focus on communication.

"Develop more techniques for engaging citizens during an event, and communicate with them, whether it's social media or some other method," Waitsfield Town Administrator Valerie Capels said.

The towns of Waitsfield and Moretown are also working to move their respective town offices to less flood prone areas.

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