With spring runoff flowing down lawns, driveways and roads, Friends of the Mad River is again inviting local property owners to take advantage of its Storm Smart program, which provides personalized property assessments of stormwater management and simple fixes to help owners.
April 10 marked the start of Storm Smart’s efforts in 2019. Some local property assessments have already been completed. “I look forward to meeting more dedicated property owners and working with them to safeguard our swim holes,” explained Ira Shadis, Friends of the Mad River stewardship coordinator, “and, of course, I can’t wait to go swimming!” Last year Friends of the Mad River assessed more than 35 properties, working with dozens of homeowners to help them learn about runoff and take action on their properties.
The Storm Smart program is built around the stormwater assessment, like an energy audit, but instead of tracking kilowatts, this assessment follows the path water takes across the land. The Friends’ staff works directly with property owners to find ways to slow down, spread out and sink in runoff where it falls. When rain and snowmelt sink into the ground, landowners suffer fewer erosion and runoff challenges on their property and send fewer flooding and pollution problems to their neighbors downstream. The program was created by the five-town Ridge to River coalition for clean water and flood resilience, made possible by engaged community members and funded by a Vermont Watershed Grant, Lake Champlain Basin Program, High Meadows Fund and the Robbins-de Beaumont Foundation.
This time of year there is a lot of basic maintenance to be done and the Storm Smart program can help.
“Often culverts and ditches get clogged up with ice, sediment and debris during the winter and spending a little time cleaning up can save a headache later,” Shadis said. “Many of these small things are easy to overlook – getting a Storm Smart assessment can help you figure out what to do.”
In addition to the assessment the Storm Smart program has gathered resources online, like the Guide to Stormwater for Homeowners and Small businesses, and produced a series of videos that explore runoff in The Valley. These short videos will air on MRVTV and can be seen on Friends of the Mad River’s YouTube channel.