Sep 28 2012

Looking Back at Tropical Storm Irene: What Went Right (Video)

Over the last year, Vermonters have come together to rebuild, to cope and to understand the devastation and loss of life caused by the state’s worst natural disaster in more than 80 years. Louis Porter, former journalist and current Lake Champlain Lakekeeper with the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), has been documenting the environmental and ecological damage from the tragedy over the last year. (CLF)

Just over a year ago, Hurricane Irene hit the northeast U.S., causing a lot of damage especially in Vermont.  The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) just put out some videos this week that look not merely at the damage caused or the recovery but actually focusing on what went right. What impact did having a wider floodplain and wetland have a certain location? How did larger culverts impact the damage on one roadway compared to smaller culverts on another? The videos are very well done and do a good job at looking at realistic solutions to the flooding that Vermont saw last year.

Otter Creek (Wetlands)

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. (CLF)

Jenny Coolidge (Larger Culverts)

The organizations 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. (CLF)

Note that the increase in price for the larger culvert was 20-40% but the maintenance and long-term cost was greatly depreciated. FHWA’s HDS 5 manual as well as the new HDS 7 deal with some of these issues. These videos are a terrific look at dealing with large storm events and the changing climate in a cost efficient manner as well as benefiting the river corridor environment.

Here is the link to the full post by CLF:

On the Anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene: Stories of What Went Right (CLF)

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