“Lessons from the Floods” - Back by Popular Demand
Eight years ago last April 13, Lake Champlain reached flood stage (100 feet) and stayed above that level for a record-setting 67 days. Waters rose to 103.27 feet – the highest the lake has been since records have been kept. Lakeside homes, roads and buildings were inundated and battered by wind-driven waves. Then, on August 28, 2011 Tropical Storm Irene slammed into the Champlain Valley. Up to 11 inches of rain fell in the mountains; rivers swelled and flooded; homes, roads and bridges were wiped away. In the wake of the devastation, LCC sought to help communities build climate resiliency. We spoke with regional planners, river engineers, emergency management personnel, municipal staff and volunteers to learn how areas weathered the storms. The conversations were distilled into “Lessons from the Floods”, an online publication focused on eight themes to help communities better prepare for the next storms.
Since Irene, there have been ten more federally declared natural disasters in our region. In response to the many requests for additional copies of “Lessons from the Floods”, we updated and reprinted the publication in the summer of 2019. Over one thousand copies have since been distributed to municipal planners, selectboard members, road commissioners and others tasked with preparing for or responding to flooding disasters.
Mike Kline, former manager of Vermont’s Rivers Program noted “the document and the work that went into it set a perfect tone for the conversations and challenges that lie ahead in making. . .communities more resilient to flooding. The stories are hopeful and demonstrate that local folks, with the right amount of technical and financial assistance, can make things happen on the ground. It’s great to have a document that reads ‘they did this, or that—and it worked’.”