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To The Editor:
Along with a partner, Bill Scheid, I built a ski lodge, i.e., the Windbeam, in Warren. For several years in the spring of the year, my parking lot was usually very wet. I would call a local excavator, Gene Grandfield, to order four or five loads of gravel. He would tell me when he was drawing the gravel from the river and then he would deliver the needed gravel.
This went on for four or five years until my lot was stabilized. Several years later, a group of environmentalists complained that drawing the gravel from the river was disturbing the fish habitat. The state responded by halting all gravel withdrawals from the state’s rivers. Soon all the holes in the rivers filled up and the river water became shallower and much warmer. The fish, however, needed cooler waters to survive. Eventually, the rivers also became much wider and less deep.
When Irene struck, the shallower rivers almost immediately overflowed and flooded the towns along the rivers. I’m sure that even if gravel extraction had not been stopped, there would still have been flooding but not to the extent that Vermont experienced.
Now some environmentalists are again complaining that the state should not repair any river damage but should let nature take its course.