Wetland Protection Pays Off

Wetlands prevented flooding here along the Otter Creek in Middlebury. Photo from Wikipedia.

UVM PhD student Keri Bryan Watson has quantified the value of wetlands in protecting downstream areas for flooding. She looked at the wetlands along the Otter Creek between Rutland and Middlebury and came to the conclusion that their ability to absorb and hold water prevented $1.8 million dollars of damage to Middlebury during Tropical Storm Irene. The important role of these wetlands was earlier featured in the LCC publication, Lessons from the Flood. Expanding the work to 10 other severe flood events allowed her to conclude that the wetlands saved the town an average of $126,000 to $450,000 each year. The study was published in the journal Ecological Economics