Flood Resiliency & Shoreline Protection
According to the National Climate Assessment, very heavy precipitation events have increased by more than 70% in the Lake Champlain basin since the late 1950s. Similarly, annual total precipitation has increased consistently over the past century in the basin. As a result of these trends and increasing population, more homes, businesses and communities have been impacted by shoreline flooding and inundation in recent years. Shoreline erosion also threatens to reduce fish spawning areas which could impact the health of the lake’s fisheries. It can also increase the risk of encroachment by invasive plant species along shorelines.
To promote shoreline protection and flood resiliency, Lake Champlain Sea Grant staff:
- Host educational workshops for real estate professionals about Vermont’s Shoreland Protection Act guidelines;
- Work on the Public Advisory Group of the ongoing Lake Champlain Richelieu River Flood Study;
- Partner with a variety of local organizations to develop watershed resiliency scorecards.
In partnership with the Friends of the Winooski River, the Missisquoi River Basin Association, and the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District, UVM Extension and Lake Champlain Sea Grant developed Watershed Flood Resiliency Scorecards for the Lamoille, Missisquoi and Winooski River Basins to introduce local planning commissions to the importance of protecting river corridors. These scorecards outline state and federal benefits for which communities are eligible if municipalities protect land alongside rivers from encroachment.
- Lamoille Watershed Scorecard (PDF)
- Missisquoi Watershed Scorecard (PDF)
- Winooski Watershed Scorecard (PDF)
The maps for these scorecards were updated by Jarlath O'Neil-Dunne and his team at the University of Vermont Spatial Analysis Lab in fall 2018. See the updated maps for the three watersheds (PDF).
Each member of the planning team is available to present the information contained in the scorecard to local planning, zoning, and conservation commissions, or other groups interested in learning about river corridor protection, and to discuss the options that communities have to gain financial protections in the event of a flood. To date, team members have presented the scorecard to local planning commissions at their meetings, through webinars, and at community events along with hands-on model stream displays. Contact kstepenu [at] uvm.edu (Kris Stepenuck) to schedule an event in your town.