Irene 5-Year Anniversary celebration events were held in August 2016 in many towns across Vermont to share in memories of the second most devastating flood in our state, share the comradery in our response and celebrate our successful recovery in the last five years in rebuilding our towns to be more flood resilient. Some WSMD staff attended and presented information and ideas for flood resiliency and shared in the events held in many Vermont communities.
The University of Massachusetts at Amherst just released a 2016 research policy report entitled “Supporting New England Communities to Become River Smart: Policies and Programs That Can Help New England Towns Thrive Despite River Floods”. This River Smart policy recommendation report discusses five areas that New England towns can use to begin or further flood resiliency initiatives in their communities. More than a dozen Vermonters contributed to the UMass-Amherst River Smart report and those contributors include a handful of WSMD staff.
This report defines “River Smart” as managing rivers and riverside landscapes, as well as our own actions and expectations, so people and communities are more resilient to river floods. Specifically: reducing flood severity, flood damage, and flood costs by understanding and accommodating the natural dynamics of rivers and floods. The policies and procedures of the Vermont River Program and other WSMD programs are well represented in this River Smart report.
The River Smart report has a series of 22 featured Examples that describe how various organizations, people, and programs around New England are currently advancing river-smart river, flood and land use management initiatives and practices in ways that are aligned with the report recommendations. The featured Examples include many town initiatives in our state of Vermont. The policy recommendation report can be accessed at the web link: https://extension.umass.edu/riversmart/policy-report