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Friends of the Mad River (FMR) is partnering with the Mad River Glen Cooperative to study and design improvements for the ski resort's parking lot in an effort to protect the water quality of the adjacent Mill Brook and reduce stormwater flows.
FMR received funding from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation's (VTDEC) Ecosystem Restoration Program to complete an engineering study and design; Mad River Glen is also contributing to the cost of the project.
In addition, the Vermont Agency of Transportation will investigate solutions for addressing issues associated with Route 17, which runs along the parking lot and directs additional stormwater onto the property, contributing to the erosion problem. The gravel-surfaced parking lot drains via two storm drains and outlets directly into the Mill Brook. The outlets of the storm drains are eroded and incised and the gravel deposits along the outlets are evidence of the elevated level of erosion and sedimentation associated with the lot.
Mad River Glen general manager Jamey Wimble is enthusiastic about the project.
"We have been aware of the issues with the parking lot for a long time—this project has been on our to-do list. Providing adequate parking is a challenge we face, and we also want to do the best thing for the environment. We are looking to meet both of these goals and it is great to have assistance from the Friends of the Mad River and VTrans in developing solutions," Wimble said.
The project has also been of interest to the Friends of the Mad River for some time, and it is included as a priority project in the VTDEC's Winooski Basin Plan. Caitrin Maloney, director of FMR, hopes this project will help highlight stormwater challenges and efforts in the Mad River Valley:
"FMR hopes to continue and increase work throughout the watershed to address stormwater problems and bring awareness to creative, low cost solutions. Many people think stormwater problems are limited to urban areas, but stormwater is an issue in the Mad River watershed too. Much of the damage that we experience again and again in this steep mountainous watershed is from raging, untamed runoff. With projects such as this one, we can slow these waters and avoid or reduce damage. This will save us money in the long term and protect the environment," Maloney added.