In May, the five Mad River Valley towns wrapped up a two-year stormwater planning process resulting in a watershed master plan, a list of 100 top projects (20 per town), and conceptual engineering plans for 25 priority sites (five per town).
Stormwater runoff is rain and snowmelt that runs off the land, carrying pollutants and eroded sediment into waterways. Runoff decreases the quality of streams and lakes and contributes to flooding damages to property and infrastructure. Communities and landowners have the opportunity to reduce these negative impacts with green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) that aims to manage runoff close to its source using techniques that imitate natural hydrologic processes and incorporate them into more traditional infrastructure. Working with Friends of the Mad River, the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission (CVRPC) and Watershed Consulting Associates, town stakeholders prioritized opportunities in their towns for slowing, sinking and spreading stormwater runoff with GSI before it fills streams.
“Even though Duxbury has only a small footprint in the Mad River watershed, we are grateful for the work of this team working with our town,” said Alan Quackenbush, Duxbury Planning Commission chair. “We now have a short list and a longer list of priorities for the town to work on with regard to stormwater runoff and erosion issues. The major rain event from Sunday night shows us that we still have a long way to go in managing runoff, but at least we have a framework to get started.”
The Ridge to River Initiative, a five-town coalition working toward clean water and flood resilience in the Mad River Valley, has focused since 2015 on managing stormwater across The Valley because it a critical strategy for reducing the community’s vulnerability to flooding and keeping swim holes clean. Led by Friends of the Mad River and supported by the High Meadows Fund, Ridge to River sought out and supported CVRPC’s grant request to the Ecosystem Restoration Grant Program at the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation to fund stormwater master planning in the Mad River Valley.
“After the grant was awarded in 2017, stakeholders in each town – from select boards, road crews, planning commissions, administrative and zoning staff, and impacted landowners – worked diligently with partners to ensure that the products were of local value,” explained Friends of the Mad River executive director Corrie Miller.