LCC Identifies Lessons From Irene

The Mill River broke through its berm during Tropical Storm Irene, wiping out prime agricultural land at Evening Song Farm. Photo by Lori Fisher.

LCC has been hard at work producing a suite of pamphlets illustrating lessons from Tropical Storm Irene. The pamphlets will soon be available on LCC’s website and we are actively seeking opportunities to present our conclusions to interested audiences. If your town’s conservation commission, selectboard, or planning commission might be interested in a presentation please contact Mike Winslow (mikew@ to arrange a time.

The lessons examined include:

1) Berms create a false sense of security; removing them can help reduce flood damage.

2) Wide floodplains store water and help minimize flood damage; berm removal increases river access to floodplains.

3) Floodplain development puts entire communities at risk; National Flood Insurance Program maps don’t offer sufficient protection.

4) Advance planning to accommodate floods pays off; FEMA money can help with planning.

5) When emergency measures create future dangers, go back and fix them.

6) Consider whether you really need to rebuild everything.

7) Constructed ponds can pose a hazard.

The project highlights case studies of good and bad river management and  each lesson is accompanied by concrete examples. The examples are mostly drawn from Rutland and Addison Counties in Vermont, but applicable throughout the Lake Champlain Basin.