The last 12 months have provided the Mad River Valley with plenty of wild weather. Floods in July and December punctuated quirky conditions that ranged from drought in May to far too many “January thaws” over the past winter. With all these changing conditions, individual properties and the greater landscape experienced major issues related to stormwater management. Friends of the Mad River has a program to help folks manage these challenging conditions, thanks to its StormSmart program.




"If you ever found yourself wondering how to manage erosion in your driveway, flooding in your basement, or what you might be able to do to support flood resilience in your community, StormSmart might be the answer,” explained Luke Foley, FMR climate and engagement manager.

The StormSmart program was created in 2017 by the five-town Ridge to River coalition for clean water and flood resilience. After six successful field seasons, more than 100 assessments, and dozens of projects completed by program participants, the StormSmart program has been well received in The Valley. The program uses free home consultations to support community members with taking actions to address stormwater runoff issues on their property. By assessing the unique characteristics of each property and identifying potential vulnerabilities, these consultations empower homeowners to take proactive measures to safeguard their homes and surrounding environment. 

"One of the primary benefits of home consultations is their ability to prevent costly home repairs resulting from water damage, erosion, and other weather-related hazards. By identifying weak points in a property's infrastructure and providing practical solutions, consultants help homeowners mitigate risks and avoid expensive repairs down the line. From installing proper drainage systems to reinforcing vulnerable areas, the guidance offered during these consultations serves as a proactive investment in home maintenance and resilience,” Foley said.

These consultations also have a positive impact on erosion control and flood mitigation, safeguarding both homes and the environment, Foley noted.

The program traces the path water takes across the land and finds opportunities to slow it, spread it, and sink it in. When water is absorbed into the ground where it lands, it’s less likely to lead to flooding and erosion. Rain gardens, dry wells, low mow zones, and planting trees can all add up to make a positive impact for the whole community.

Erosion, a silent but pervasive threat in the Mad River Valley, can undermine the stability of landscapes and degrade water quality. Through targeted interventions recommended during home consultations, homeowners can play a vital role in erosion control efforts. By implementing measures such as planting native vegetation, installing erosion barriers, and managing stormwater runoff effectively, homeowners not only protect their properties but also contribute to the health of the surrounding ecosystem.

"The Friends of the Mad River StormSmart program's focus on home consultations reflects a broader commitment to community resilience. By equipping residents with the knowledge and tools needed to protect their homes and environment, the program fosters a sense of collective responsibility and solidarity. Through collaborative efforts and shared resources, communities in the Mad River Valley can build a more resilient future, capable of withstanding the challenges posed by a changing climate,” Foley pointed out. 

Register for a site consultation at Learn more about the program at