Monday, October 24, 2011

A Few Fall Slow Water Updates: Cold Weather and River Discussion

October has been warmer than average in Vermont so far, but the month is going to leave us with a chill.  Later this week a cold storm will come blasting through Vermont, and as it leaves the state it may blast us with some snow - one or two slushy inches in the lowlands, several inches in the mountains.  Light snow is not all that unusual for late October, but because it has been warmer than average, it will seem like an abrupt change.  One way or another, the storm will usher us into a time known by some as 'stick season'... once the light snow melts away, the trees will mostly be left bare, a forest of sticks over a layer of leaves, with the only color in the woods provided by the bright orange worn to prevent humans and dogs from being mistaken for deer during hunting season.

Above:  This late October color, as seen from Snake Mountain near Virgennes, will soon be stripped from the trees by wind or wet snow.

Speaking of weather, I've been invited to write occasional blog posts about Addison County's weather for the Addison County Independent online page.  You can see my posts here.

I also may be on a panel at the Environmental Action 2011 conference in Randolph, VT this Saturday.  I'd be discussing issues associated with gravel removal from rivers and post-Irene flood repairs, along with Kim Greenwood of VNRC and Louis Porter, the Lake Champlain Lakekeeper.  I hope to have some discussion about how channelization and dredging of rivers is not only an environmental issue but also a threat to safety and a cause of increased flooding in the long term.  I may also talk a bit about my experiences during Irene.  I was very lucky, unlike many others in Vermont, in that I did not experience property damage... but I still experienced a very discomforting afternoon and night where I had to leave our home without warning, and spent time in a shelter wondering if our home was damaged or destroyed. After returning home, I experienced quite a bit of concern when a knee-jerk river channelization effort possibly increased the risk of flood wall failure near my home (the flood wall has since been fixed, but significant issues remain and are undergoing long-term community discussion).  In any event, if you're at the conference, come by - see here for more info.

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