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Find resources to help prepare for flooding.


Becoming a flood resilient community and state will require considerable action on the part of all of us. Your community needs to set the direction and the priorities well beyond the requirements of the municipal plan, the incentives for ERAF and the suggestions here. Below you will find a number of resources that may open new opportunities for your work ahead.

If you become aware of something new – please post it to the Flood Resilience Listserve or let us know so more people can learn from it!

Links to sections below:

Vermont Reports and Video Presentations

Irene - Lessons Learned Mike Kline March 2016  
Evaluating the Costs and Benefits of Floodplain Protection Activities in Waterbury, Vermont and Willsboro, New York, Lake Champlain Basin, U.S.A.
Prepared for the Lake Champlain Basin Program 
by Milone & MacBroom in partnership with Fitzgerald Environmental Associates, Earth Economics, and dkcarlton and associates, Waterbury, VT. Schiff, R., S. Bighinatti, E. Fitzgerald, N. Wahlund, D. Carlton, A. Church, J. Lousios, and B. Cote, 2015.  
The Institute for Sustainable Communities (2013) Vermont’s Roadmap to Resilience 
ISC (8/2015) Progress Report: Vermont's Roadmap to Resilience  
Planning for Flood Recovery and Long-Term Resilience in VermontSmart Growth Approaches for Disaster-Resilient Communities
EPA 231-R-14-003 July 2014 (pdf 4 MB) 

Vermont Economic Resiliency Initiative - Vermont Economic Resiliency Initiative ReportAgency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) - summarizing work in Vermont and detailed final reports for five communities. 
Reports for Barre, Brandon, Brattleboro, Enosburgh and Woodstock

Protecting River Corridors in Vermont. Michael Kline and Barry Cahoon, 2010. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 1-10
Rivers and Resilience: Lessons Learned from Tropical Storm Irene, David K. Mears and Sarah McKearnan Vermont Journal of Environmental Law [Vol. 14 2013]
Assessing State Policy Linking Disaster Recovery, Smart Growth, And Resilience In Vermont Following Tropical Storm Irene, Gavin Smith, Dylan Sandler, and Mikey Goralnik
Lessons from the Floods - Lake Champlain Committee
Transcript of Panel Five of the After Irene Symposium on Creating a More Resilient Vermont, Bob Irwin, Deb Markowitz, David K. Mears, and Brian Shupe 2012-2013
Report on the Viability and Disaster Resilience of Mobile Home Ownership and Parks, DHCD Dec 2013
Rapid Assessment of Flood Risk in Vermont Mobile Home Parks, Scott Hamshaw presentation (2012)
Community Recovery Partnership Report Oct 2012
River Corridor, Floodplain & Shoreland Protection Programs, Biennial Report to the General Assembly Pursuant to Act 110, VT DEC Jan. 2017

Videos on the Anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene: Stories of What Went Right

Otter Creek Floodplain Response to Irene
The Connecticut River Watershed Council and The Conservation Law Foundation have joined together to step back to look at why Otter Creek in Rutland leapt up as Irene struck, increasing in flow by nearly 20 times in the space of a little more than a day, while downstream in Middlebury the river rose much more gradually, and more safely. The film is narrated by Gov. Howard Dean.

Jenny Coolidge Brook Culvert Response Irene
CRWC and CLF also looked at the decision to install larger culverts, including near the headwaters of the West River high in the Green Mountain National Forest. One such culvert, on Jenny Coolidge Brook, still stood after Tropical Storm Irene while others near it failed, preventing a costly replacement and preventing erosion and other flood damage.

Upstream Downtown Workshop Presentations (Videos from April 8, 2013)

Resilient Waterscapes  (35 min) – Urban / River Interface Designs, Herbert Dreiseitl, Atelier Dreiseitl,  Landscape Architect, Loeb Fellow
Flood Resiliency and Design (35 min) - Built Structures and Rivers in Conflict, Barry Cahoon, P.E., VT ANR River Management Engineer

Event partners: Harvard Loeb Fellowship, ACCD, ANR, Vermont Planners Association, Vermont Natural Resources Council, and Vermont Chapter of American Society of Landscape Architects

Road washout, Freeport, ME August 25, 2008
Ice Release Northfield VT, Lewis Case, March 12, 2008
VT Route 125 flooding, Ripton, August 6, 2008
Lake Champlain Flood, April 20, 2011
Making it Happen - search for "videos"
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Climate Change

Climate Change in Vermont - Vermont Agency of Natural Resources 
Vermont State Climate Office  
Northeastern Regional Climate Center - Cornell University 
NRCC Climate Change Links 
Charts by State - Southern Regional Climate Center - Lousiana State University 
Water Resources Dashboard for Planning - US Climate Resilience Toolkit 
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Disaster History and Tropical Storm IreneIrene Recovery Office Report 2013

Assessing State Policy Linking Disaster Recovery, Smart Growth, and Resilience In Vermont Following Tropical Storm Irene, Gavin Smith, Dylan Sandler, and Mikey Goralnik
Rivers and Resilience: Lessons Learned From Tropical Storm Irene, David K. Mears and Sarah McKearnan 2012-2013
Transcript of Panel Five of the After Irene Symposium on Creating a More Resilient Vermont, Bob Irwin, Deb Markowitz, David K. Mears, and Brian Shupe 2012-2013
Irene: Reflections on Weathering the Storm, Irene Recovery Office 2013 Report, Ben Rose, Katherine Ash 
VPR Mapping the Money
Impact of Tropical Storm Irene on Streams in Vermont 2011, by George Springston and Kristen Underwood
VCGI Irene Data
FEMA – Flood Insurance Maps and Studies
FEMA – Disaster Declarations in Vermont
GenDisasters: Vermont Disasters
NWS Recent Weather Events
NOAA Storm Events Database (State/County/Town)
NWS Flooding in Vermont 
Spatial Hazard Events and Losses Database for the US (SHELDUS)
UVM Landscape Change Program 
Letter from Allen Wheeler regarding the flood of Nov. 1927 UVM Alum1930  
USGS Chronology of major and other memorable floods and droughts in Vermont, 1770-1988wsp-2375 
Floodplains Saved Middlebury $1.8M in Damage, Kari Byran Watson, Gund Institute, UVM 

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Watershed and Resource Information

cover of Stream Geomorphic Assessment

Flood Ready Atlas – River Corridor and Floodplain Maps
Vermont ANR Natural Resource Atlas
Water Resources Dashboard for Planning - US Climate Resilience Toolkit 

USGS StreamStats for Vermont 
USGS Version 3 Beta - for Vermont (custom data for watersheds - size, precipitation, flood discharges, percent impervious surface)
USGS WaterWatch
USGS RealTime Stream Flows
USGS Data Links for Vermont

NWS National Water Prediction Service and Inundation Mappers 

VT DEC Water Quality Tactical Basin Planning
VT DEC Wetlands Program
VT DEC River Corridor Plans and Final Reports
Dam Inventory Vermont Natural Resource Atlas (many larger high hazard dams have Emergency Action Plans)
Vermont Geological Survey Stream Geomorphology
Streamflow Changes after Forest Clearing in New England; Hornbeck, J.W., R.S. Pierce, and C.A. Federer Water Resources Research, 6(4):1124-1132
Impact Matrix: Geomorphic and Hydrologic Adjustments Response due to Land Use Changes
Basin Plans and Water Quality Resources
Vermont Geological Survey Final Report for Watershed Hydrology Protection and Flood Mitigation: Phase One 1/15/98

Effects of Urban Development on Floods, C. P. Konrad, USGS Fact Sheet 076-03
Urbanization and Streams: Studies of Hydrologic Impacts  EPA
Case Studies - impacts that increased flow due to urbanization - EPA
The Role of Trees and Forests in Healthy Watersheds: Managing Stormwater, Reducing Flooding, and Improving Water Quality, Penn State Extension
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River Science and Policy

River Dynamics 101 Fact Sheet

Protecting River Corridors in Vermont. Michael Kline and Barry Cahoon, 2010. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 1-10

Why We Continue to Develop Floodplains: Examining the Disincentives for Conservation in Federal Policy 2017 Zachary Christin, Earth Economics and Michael Kline, Vermont Rivers Program Manager, VTDEC

ASFPM Riverine Erosion Hazards White Paper (Feb 2016)
ASFPM Natural and Biological Functions of Floodplains 
ASFPM Flood Science Center - Research, Resources, Projects 

Supporting New England Communities to Become River-Smart: Policies and Programs that can Help New England Towns Thrive Despite River Floods, 9/2016 Eve Vogel and UMass Amherst RiverSmart

Giving Our Rivers Room to Move: A New Strategy and Contribution to Protecting Vermont's Communities and Ensuring Clean Water, Vermont Journal of Environmental Law [Vol. 17 pp.734-765]    Vermont Journal of Environmental Law Vol 17

VT DEC Rivers Management Program

Flood Hazard Area & River Corridor Protection Procedure
Flood Hazard Area & River Corridor Rule
River Corridor Plans and Geomorphic Assessments

The Active River Area: A Conservation Framework for Protecting Rivers and Streams, The Nature Conservancy – 4/2008 
Reconnecting Rivers to Floodplains: Returning natural functions to restore rivers and benefit communities, American Rivers - Spring 2016 
Reading Rivers, VNRC 2013 (Recent overview of issues and best practices) 
Living in Harmony with Streams: A Citizen's Handbook to How Streams Work, Friends of the Winooski, 2016, 
Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation District (ONRCD) Stream Table Demonstrations and River River Roadshow 
CRREL Ice Jam Database 
Precipitation Records - Wunderground Historical Weather 

Quantifying flood mitigation services: The economic value of Otter Creek wetlands and floodplains to Middlebury, VTEcological Economics 
Volume 130, October 2016, Pages 16–24 Keri B. Watson, Taylor Ricketts, Gillian Galford, Stephen Polasky, Jarlath O'Niel-Dunne 
Riparian Buffer Restoration - 11 Webinars - Penn Clean Water Academy 

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Lakes and Shorelands

cover of The Shoreline Stabilization Handbook

Vermont Lakeshores and Lake Wise
Vermont Shoreland Permit Program
NRPC Shoreline Stabilization Handbook for Lake Champlain and Other Inland Lakes
Floodplains Key to the Health of Lake Champlain White Paper
Flood-inundation maps for Lake Champlain in Vermont and in northern Clinton County, New York; Flynn, Robert and Laura Hayes, SIR 2016-5060 
Assessment of the spatial extent and height of flooding in Lake Champlain during May 2011, using satellite remote sensing and ground-based information: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2014–5163, 18 p. Bjerklie, D.M., Trombley, T.J., and Olson, S.A., 2014,
High-water marks from flooding in Lake Champlain from April through June 2011 and Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 in Vermont: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 763, 11 p. Medalie, Laura, and Olson, S.A., 2013,
USGS Lake Champlain Lake Level - Sign up for Water Level Alerts  

In 2020 the International Joint Commission Study Board (IJC) released four short videos (vimeo) about the study and recorded presentations: 

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Resilience Framework Diagram - Ask, Analyze, Act

Dam Safety

Association of State Dam Safety Officials / Know Your Risks

  • Living with Dams: Know Your Risks - e-book, pdf 
  • Extreme Rainfall Eventse-book, pdf 

Vermont DEC Dam Safety Program 
Living With Dams: Know Your Risks  FEMA 
Dam Safety Website  FEMA 
Recorded ASFPM Webinar: Know Your Dam Risk (requires Adobe Flash)

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Resilience as a Framework

Bounce Forward: Urban Resilience in the Era of Climate Change - Island Press and Kresge Foundation 
an exceptional discussion of the conceptions of resilience, with an integrated framework and tools.
Organizations Addressing Resilience and Sustainability (OARS) - a resource set curated by Don Watson for the Natural Hazards Mitigation Association 
The Patchwork Quilt - Natural Hazards Mitigation Association 
100 Resilient Cities Initiative - Rockefeller Foundation 
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Planning ResourcesHazard Mitigation Integrating Best Practices into Planning

Vermont Planning Information Center VPIC (including guidance on the legal process for municipal plans)
Plan Today for Tomorrow's Flood ACCD 
Flood Resilience Checklist for Vermont Communities, ACCD
Vermont State Agency Policy Options Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program: Disaster Recovery and Long-Term Resilience Planning in Vermont, Gavin Smith, 2013
Vermont’s Roadmap to Resilience 2013 ISC
Rebuilding Stronger – Learning from the Mad River Watershed (2013) EPA ACCD
Vermont Economic Resiliency Initiative (VERI) ACCD 
Report on the Viability and Disaster Resilience of Mobile Home Ownership and Parks, DHCD Dec 2013
Resilient Communities Scorecard VNRC 2013 (Planning For Climate Change and Energy Disruption)
Understanding stakeholder preferences for flood adaptation alternatives with natural capital implications. Loos, J.R., and S.H.Rogers. 2016 Ecology and Society 21(3):32

Natural Hazards Center - University of Colorado at Boulder
Resilient Neighbors Network - NHMA
No Adverse Impact – ASFPM

Naturally Resilient Communities - Using Nature to Address Flooding - Nature-based solutions, resources, funding 

Hazard Mitigation: Integrating Best Practices into Planning, American Planning Association, 2010
Floodplain Buyouts: An Action Guide for Local Governments on How to Maximize Community Benefits, Habitat Connectivitiy, and Resilience UNC April 2017
Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery: Next Generation (PAS 576), American Planning Association, 2015
FEMA Public Survey Info on Flood Risk
NOAA Hazard and Resiliency Planning: Perceived Benefits and Barriers Among Land Use Planners 2010

Natural Capital Project - The Nature Conservancy

Planning - Climate Change UK Cities 
Vermont State Statutes 24 VSA Chapter 117 
Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Program - National Park Service 

FEMA Flood Risk Communication Video Series - Youtube   
FEMA Map Update related Videos.pdf with link to the Youtube channel.


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Law and Policy

Preparing for the Next Flood: Vermont’s Floodplain Management 2009, Vermont Law School
VT DEC River Corridor and Floodplain Protection Program 
Legal Papers - Association of State Floodplain Managers
Government Liability and Climate Change: Selected Legal Issues, Review Draft 6.12.14, Dr Jon Kusler, Esq 
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Model Bylaws, Floodplain and River Corridor Regulations

Vermont DEC has prepared model regulations for communities to work with. They have been pre-reviewed by FEMA and meet or exceed the requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program.

In addition, adoption and enforcement of Section D, River Corridors, qualifies communities for enhanced cost share under the Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund.

2022 and 2018 Model Bylaws

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact your DEC Regional Floodplain Manager if you have questions or would like a Word version of the text for editing.

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Storm Water and Natural Flood Protection

Vermont DEC Stormwater Program
Low Impact Development: Planning and Policy
Model Low Impact Development Bylaws VLCT
Model Riparian Buffer Ordinance VLCT 
Low Impact Development Review Checklist – Guilford, Connecticut

Green Infrastructure Collaborative - Lake Champlain Sea Grant Program and VT DEC
Green Infrastructure Initiative YouTube Channel

Importance of Trees in Stormwater Management
Water Quality and Stormwater

Community Strategies for Vermont’s Forests and Wildlife: A Guide for Local Action, VNRC 8/2013
EPA Green Infrastructure  

Otter Creek Wetlands Floodplain and Middlebury Study - News 7/8/2016 

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Roads and Infrastructure

cover of Vermont Rivers & Roads Field Manual

VTrans Orange Book: A Handbook for Local Officials
VTrans Online Bridge and Culvert Inventory Tool
VT DEC Stream Geomorphic DMS Bridge and Culvert Database
Vermont Culvert Aquatic Organism Passage Screening Tool, March 2009

VTrans Better Roads

Rivers and Roads Field Guide,  booklet form
Rivers and Roads Tier One Training 
Tier Two Overview 
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Flood Emergency Response

VEM Daily Situation Report
Vermont Emergency Management (VEM)
Vermont Local Emergency Operations Planning
Municipal Guidance for Flood Emergencies in Vermont - Windham Regional Commission and UMass 8/2016

All VT Gauges

NWS - Northeast Regional River Forecast Center
NWS - Flood Safety
NOAA Interactive Snow Information
Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab (CRREL) Ice Jam Database

USGS Water Alerts    Also, here: automatic updates on flows from USGS gauges 

Vermont DEC - River Management Program 
Municipal Guide to Authorizing Instream Emergency Protective Measures in Vermont 
Municipal Online Reporting of Instream Emergency Protective Measures  / Stream Alterations Contact Form 
Emergency Protective Measures - List of Authorized Measures 
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Flood - Building Clean Up

Caution: after a flood the clean up process can be very important, complex and daunting. Promptly draining and drying the structure is important. Photograph the condition of the buildling condition and contents - particularly for insurance purposes. Contact your insurance agent and get an adjuster scheduled. Contact the community's flood hazard administrator to determine what emergency building repairs can proceed.  Determine if the building is safe to work around or in. If a building has sustained considerable damage from any cause it will need to be assesed by the community flood hazard administrator to see if it sustained "substantial damage".  Some kinds of insurance funding (ICC) or grant funding (HMGP) is based on the substantial damage assessment.  In rare disasters funding may become available for individuals and households (IHA) for losses that could not be insured and loans may become available through the Small Business Administration.

Here are some helpful links for the physical clean up process:

Flood Preparedness (Before, During, After) Checklist - Agility Recovery on VLCT
Re-entering Your Flooded Home - CDC
Cleaning Up Your Home After A Flood - Improvenet - with many helpful links 
Cleaning Up After a Flood - FEMA 
Cleaning Flooded Buildings - FEMA 
Managing Disaster-Generated Debris - USACE on VLCT 
Hazardous materials separation - flyer
Mold After a Disaster - CDC 
Repairing Your Flooded Home - American Red Cross 
What Could A Flood Cost - NFIP/FEMA 
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Insure Residual Risk

Topical Handouts from Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission FEMA Flood Insurance Information for Consumers

FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
FEMA Flood Insurance Reforms (BW 2012, HFIAA)
ASFPM – On the Biggerts-Waters Act and Affordability
FEMA Community Rating System (CRS)
Montpelier CRS Flood Information Page
Vermont DEC Contact for CRS Information 
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Map Data

Flood Ready Atlas - web-based map with river corridor, special flood hazard area and other data

Flood Hazard Mitigation Buyout / Acquistion Map - TRORC Buy Out Map

FEMA Map Service Center - web-based map and access to official Flood Insurance Rate Map data

USGS Data in Vermont:

Flood maps for the Winooski River in Waterbury, Vermont, 2014Olson, S.A., 2015, U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015–5077

USGS Flood Inundation Mapper – for Waterbury, VT

Flood recovery maps for the White River in Bethel, Stockbridge, and Rochester, Vermont, and the Tweed River in Stockbridge and Pittsfield, Vermont, 2014, Scientific Investigations Report 2015-5056

Analysis of floods, including the tropical storm Irene inundation, of the Ottauquechee River in Woodstock, Bridgewater, and Killington and of Reservoir Brook in Bridgewater and Plymouth, Vermont Robert H. Flynn, Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5214  Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Flood inundation maps and water-surface profiles for tropical storm Irene and selected annual exceedance probability floods for Flint Brook and the Third Branch White River in Roxbury, Vermont  and Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5118 Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency

Annual exceedance probabilities of the peak discharges of 2011 at streamgages in Vermont and selected streamgages in New Hampshire, western Massachusetts, and northeastern New York Scott A. Olson, Gardner C. Bent 2013, Scientific Investigations Report 2013-5187 

High-water marks from flooding in Lake Champlain from April through June 2011 and Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 in Vermont Laura Medalie, S.A. Olson 2013, Data Series 763

Assessment of the spatial extent and height of flooding in Lake Champlain during May 2011, using satellite remote sensing and ground-based information David M. Bjerklie, Thomas J. Trombley, Scott A. Olson 2014, Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5163

Estimation of flood discharges at selected annual exceedance probabilities for unregulated, rural streams in Vermont, with a section on Vermont regional skew regression Scott A. Olson, Andrea G. with a section by Veilleux 2014, Scientific Investigations Report 2014-5078

Vermont Center for Geographic Information - web-based maps and GIS data
VCGI Interactive and Static Maps 
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Communicating Risk

Critical Issues Research Database (American Geosciences Institute) including reports and factsheets about flood risk.
It’s Time To Ditch The Concept Of ‘100-Year Floods’Maggie Koerth FiveThirtyEight 

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Flood Ready Handouts

Flood Ready Handout - set up as four "cards" on an 8.5 x 11" page. Print double sided to flip on short edge. 

Flood Ready Poster (8.5 x 11)

Room for Rivers  

More handouts at: 

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Flood Ready Vermont logo