Steps in response to Irene
RESPONDING to Irene
These are examples of actions taken by Irene-impacted towns to promote future resilience:
Keep development safe. Brandon (along with 18 other towns) recently passed a new bylaw to keep new buildings out of areas where the risk of erosion is very high, acknowledging that the river needs room to move and release energy.
Protect town centers. Bristol is using state and federal funding to buy 40 acres along the New Haven River to permanently protect a floodplain that buffers downstream towns and infrastructure from flooding, while also creating a great spot for anglers, and a beautiful greenway for residents and visitors.
Support homeowners. The town of Northfield is helping 12 homeowners hit hard by Irene by buying their homes so they can relocate; their land will become floodplain once again. Londonderry, Stockbridge and many other towns are also finding creative ways to help homeowners in their towns.
Protect existing buildings. Before Irene, The town of Lincoln used federal grants to flood-proof its historic Town Hall with flood gates on its windows and doors; the building held up beautifully during the tropical storm.
Build new buildings to withstand larger floods. The state is rebuilding the Waterbury state office complex in a way that provides more space for the river and ensures that new buildings are more flood resilient.
Build infrastructure for tomorrow’s climate. Pawlet has been slowly replacing its undersized culverts for years with help from federal grants, and now culvert wash-outs are much rarer. Road projects have also cut back on erosion problems and maintenance costs.
Sink it where it falls. Rutland City and the Rutland Conservation District have partnered to find innovative ways of managing stormwater, including building rain gardens on city properties, and helping residents to disconnect their downspouts from storm drains and instead manage their stormwater on-site with rain barrels and rain gardens.