Flood damage isn't new to communities in the Lake Champlain Basin, but between 2011's record high lake levels in late spring and early summer, and the widespread flooding damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene in August, the need to better prepare for and respond to significant flooding events is now at the forefront of the minds of many.
LCSG is responding to these needs by:
- Assisting municipalities to identify infrastructure risks, and
- Helping property owners to stabilize shorelines with bioegineering.
In partnership with the Friends of the Winooski, the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District, Stone Environmental, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission and the Winooski Watershed Coordinator, LCSG is working with the towns of Plainfield and Worcester in the Winooski watershed to reduce the impacts of future flooding.
The partner group will conduct a flood resiliency and climate change vulnerability assessment to identify infrastructure within the municipal boundaries that poses risks to the town because of future costs or flooding risk. A detailed map of these risks and information on opportunities for infrastructure upgrades will help towns make informed decisions about their infrastructure in the context of flood resiliency and climate change.
Specialists from the Vermont's Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) and Lake Champlain Sea Grant held workshops for town and municipal officials in the Lake Champlain Basin on using bioengineered methods for shoreline stabilization and erosion control, and prepared an award winning guidebook on using bioengineering for shoreline stabilization. The award was recognized on the NOAA Coastal Services Center website as well as the American Planning Association website.
Although an accepted erosion control practice in New England, bioengineering was little used in the Lake Champlain Basin. The education activities had significant impacts: Isle La Motte and Ferrisburgh, Vermont, built bioengineered shoreline stabilization structures. Isle la Motte built three projects to protect a coastal road, and Ferrisburgh built one project to prevent erosion along a headland adjacent to the town beach.
Additional projects are being implemented in Westport, New York, and Ferrisburgh, Vermont. The towns of Colchester, Vermont, Isle La Motte, Vermont, and Moriah, New York, changed zoning regulations and coastal construction guidelines to require future shoreline construction to use Sea Grant-NRPC promoted bioengineering methods. The City of Burlington, Vermont, designed a bioengineered shoreline stabilization project to protect the city's lakeshore bike path and is seeking funding for construction.