Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Vermont Updates: Middlebury River Management Planning Task Force; Lake Champlain Meetings

At last night's Town of Middlebury Select Board meeting (which I did not attend this time), plans were laid out to create a task force to deal with river and flooding issues in East Middlebury.  From the text of the Selectboard Meeting Highlights:

Middlebury River Management Planning Task Force to be Formed. Following the model of the successful river management planning effort in Ripton, the Board endorsed forming a Task Force to develop a plan for on-going management of the Middlebury River as it flows through East Middlebury.

The specialized, focused group could include representatives from the Agency of Natural Resources, the Planning Commission, the Addison County Regional Planning Commission and a river scientist in an effort led by the Town Manager, with technical experts, including engineers with river science experience and hydrologists, retained as needed. The Board emphasized the need to engage residents of East Middlebury in the process by keeping them informed of the group's efforts and soliciting input during the process.

The river management plan is one component of a Hazard Mitigation Plan. The mitigation plan is a pre-requisite for Federal Emergency Management Hazard Mitigation funding, which is the leading source of funding to implement measures to reduce flood hazards.

Town Manager Bill Finger will meet with East Middlebury resident and river scientist Amy Sheldon to develop a strategy for moving ahead with the Task Force and seeking funding for the planning initiative. Pending negotiation of a scope of work, Amy will be retained on a professional basis to serve as the project manager for the effort.

I hope to be involved, at least as a resident of East Middlebury... and also plan to post updates on this blog, which hopefully will provide a balanced, layperson-focused view on what is happening along the river.  In general, I think this is excellent news, and I hope this ends up as an entire-watershed effort and includes working with people in Ripton upstream.  It's great that Amy Sheldon is involved as she is both a resident and a great river scientist... 

The rest of the highlights from the meeting should be posted here soon.

In other Vermont water news, the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District will be holding public meetings about Lake Champlain on November 17th to discuss issues with phosphorous pollution in the lake, and EPA requirements (apparently they have rejected Vermont's current plan).  For more info, see here.  

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