Check out the following resources for building more resilient communities.
Vermont River Corridor Base Maps
The Agency of Natural Resources has posted a new interactive base map of Vermont’s river corridors online. This free tool is available to help communities and agencies develop flood-resilient plans and policies. A river corridor is delineated to provide for the least erosive form toward which a river will evolve during floods over time. River corridor maps guide State actions to protect, restore, and maintain naturally stable meanders and riparian areas to minimize erosion hazards. Land within and immediately abutting a river corridor may be at higher risk to fluvial erosion during floods.
Vermont Economic Resilience Initiative (VERI)
The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development launched the VERI project after Tropical Storm Irene to help communities build back even stronger. The goal of the project is to help communities recover quickly from disasters, minimize interruptions to businesses and the local economy, and reduce flood recovery costs. VERI completed community processes in five Vermont towns (Barre, Brandon, Brattleboro, Enosburg and Woodstock), resulting in detailed action steps and recommendations. The team is currently completing final reports and moving toward recommendations. While the reports are tailored to these communities, the VERI framework, recommendations and sample projects could be applied in any community.
Flood Ready Vermont
Flood Ready Vermont is a central repository of information, resources, connections and data related to flooding and flood resilience in Vermont. The site is designed to help communities become flood ready together – developing in safer places, protecting the functions of the watersheds that protect us, adapting our critical infrastructure and preparing for emergencies. Flood Ready also offers a discussion listserv and links to many related organizations and services.
Disaster Recovery and Long-Term Resilience Planning in Vermont
After Tropical Storm Irene, the EPA’s Smart Growth Technical Assistance program assisted Vermont and local communities in the Mad River Valley in developing strategies to plan and prepare for future flooding events. This report provides substantial guidance on ways that communities can “incorporate smart growth and sustainable community approaches into their development plans, regulations and hazard mitigation plans to increase their flood resilience.” The recommendations include embracing “smart growth” development patterns (that “create attractive, distinctive and walkable communities”), using resources efficiently, and preserving Vermont’s cultural and environmental assets.
Vermont 2-1-1 is the number you dial to find out about hundreds of important community resources, like emergency food and shelter, disability services, counseling, senior services, health care, child care, drug and alcohol programs, legal assistance, transportation needs, educational and volunteer opportunities, and much more. The call center can help people sign up for the Citizen Assistance Registry in case of an Emergency (CARE), which tracks information about people who may need special assistance in a an emergency or evacuation.
Floodproofing Case Studies
The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development drafted three short case studies documenting how Vermonters took proactive steps to floodproof important buildings – and the benefits of those steps during future floods. The resource includes studies of the New England Youth Theatre building in Brattleboro, a historic home in Jeffersonville, and the community center in Lincoln. The resource includes information on specific steps and costs of floodproofing techniques.
Disaster Recovery Guide for Businesses
Published by the Vermont Small Business Development Center, this guide was developed to be a working tool for businesses as they decide how to move forward after a disaster. The guide walks business owners through an assessment process (both personal and business-related), helps them make important decisions about whether or not to re-open, and shares important steps about how to create a recovery plan and move forward if they choose.
Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERAF)
ERAF provides State funding to match federal public assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after federally-declared disasters. Eligible public costs are reimbursed by federal taxpayers at 75%. For disasters after October 23, 2014, the State of Vermont will contribute an additional 7.5% toward the costs. For communities that take specific steps to reduce flood damage, the State will contribute 12.5% or 17.5% of the total cost.
Resilient Communities Scorecard
The Vermont Natural Resources Council’s Resilient Communities Scorecard “helps Vermont communities assess their resilience to the growing threat of community disruption caused by climate change and energy scarcity, among other challenges. The Scorecard focuses on key areas including land use, transportation, energy, and healthy community design. Knowing where your community stands is a first step toward developing goals, action steps, and investment strategies that build or reinforce resilience. This tool builds on the original Smart Growth Scorecard, which assessed how well municipalities were prepared for the pressures of changing settlement patterns, especially sprawl. The updated tool will help communities address today’s difficult challenges – like incremental and scattered development, rising energy costs, and climate change – and help position them to meet those challenges.”
Planning for Flood Recovery and Long-Term Resilience in Vermont
This report on smart growth approaches for disaster-resilient communities stems from the EPA and FEMA’s technical assistance work in Vermont after Tropical Storm Irene. The assistance focused on incorporating smart growth principles into state policies, local development regulations, and Hazard Mitigation Plans to increase community flood resilience. Planning for Flood Recovery and Long-Term Resilience in Vermont (2014) includes general strategies for flood resilience and disaster recovery, local land use policy options, and statewide policy options and strategies.
Smart Growth America’s Resilience Resources
Smart Growth America offers an online database of resilience resources, geared toward municipal and state leaders interested in recovery, mitigation and adaptation efforts. Resources are organized into four categories: private sector engagement and economic impacts, local and regional best practices for land use and resilience, state coordinating role, and data sources.
Community Resilience Organizations
Community Resilience Organizations (CROs) are local teams that engage residents and town leaders in climate adaptation, disaster preparedness and hazard mitigation, while strengthening local collaboration and social cohesion. CROs break down community silos by bringing together a diverse mix of stakeholders involved in resilience and hazard mitigation: emergency management, conservation, social services, government and more. Through an annual Day for CROing and ongoing projects, teams engage youth and the broader community to collaborate on critical projects that will make the town stronger and safer, simultaneously celebrating local spirit and building community. The CROs organization provides backbone support to local teams. We share resources, provide technical assistance and capacity building, help fundraise, and host an annual summit for town CROs teams across the state. CROs launched in six Vermont pilot towns in 2015: Hartford, Jeffersonville, Londonderry, Putney, Richmond and Waterbury.
Resilience: A Report on the Health of Vermont’s Environment
The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources released this 2011 report to investigate what we can do to make our ecosystems and communities more resilient in the face of flooding and other environmental threats. The report considers strategies for addressing climate change, reducing flood damage, reducing air pollution, cleaning up Lake Champlain, protecting lake shores, increasing forest resilience, conserving habitat, minimizing waste, building resilient infrastructure, and drawing kids outdoors.
Vermont Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group and Vermont Disaster Relief Fund
The Vermont Long-Term Disaster Recovery Group (VLTDRG) was established as an independent non-profit organization to specifically coordinate resources and raise and deliver donor dollars to those in need from the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund. The Vermont Disaster Relief Fund remains engaged in a campaign that has ensured more than $7.6 million in funds are available for direct recovery assistance for the unmet needs of Vermonters impacted by natural disasters.
Vermont’s Roadmap to Resilience is a comprehensive group of 23 recommendations to increase Vermont’s preparedness for the effects of climate change and extreme weather impacts. It stems from the 18-month long Resilient Vermont process, a multi-stakeholder research and planning project that involved more than 400 Vermonters from diverse organizations and disciplines. The Roadmap recommendations are organized into four categories: elevate and integrate emergency management, know our risks, work together and learn together, and align rules and investment for stronger communities.