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To The Editor:
After the effects of Hurricane Irene, the Mad River Valley has been slowly recovering and rebuilding. Although many places have rebuilt there are many places that still need help to be able to be back to the way they were. I have noticed driving through The Valley areas that is still a mess from the massive flooding that occurred. We need to step up to help our neighbors, not just people but the animals whose habitats have been disrupted by such a devastating natural disaster.
In the most recent issue of The Valley Reporter, there was an article about the wild trout population and how it is affected by flooding. A graph from the Department of Fish and Wildlife showed the effects after a flood in 1998 where the trout population plummeted and took about three years to recover. The flooding from Irene was significantly worse than the flood in 1998, causing the trout population to plummet. The roadwork has an effect on the trout habitat because of much gravel and topsoil that has to be removed from the river after the flood damage. We need to be conscious of the habitats of wildlife in our area; with fishing season starting this weekend, fishing enthusiasts should be considerate of the low population of trout and go to other areas to fish so that the Mad River watershed can have time to recover.
The other area that needs help is cleaning debris from around the river. The hay bales that were picked up by the water and moved downstream have caused pieces of plastic to be all around the riverbanks and distracts from the beauty of the river. There is also trash, dead trees and brush that have been carried downstream and crowded the area around the river. When trash is left lying around it puts the lives of animals, especially birds, at risk. This problem needs to be fixed so that The Valley can look and feel as good as it did before the flood.
The cleaning and rebuilding of the Mad River Valley will take lots of time and effort, but we need to remember that even though it seems better now we can always do more and can’t forget what we can do for our community. Even if it isn’t your land or space, we have to help our neighbors and rebuild our valley so that we can enjoy it even more.