Vermont Economic Resiliency Initiative
In July of 2014, Bear Creek Environmental was retained by the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development to lead a team of five consulting firms in a pilot study of flood hazard mitigation in five Vermont communities. Flood resiliency efforts focused on Gunners Brook in Barre, the Neshobe River in Brandon, Whetstone Brook in Brattleboro, the Tyler Branch in Enosburg, and the Ottauquechee River in Woodstock.
During the summer and fall of 2014, project scientists collected field data and observations along the priority sections of the five focus streams. Using these field data and input from local residents and officials, areas where risk of damage to businesses and infrastructure due to fluvial erosion and/or inundation flooding is high were identified. The project team then developed a list of projects and strategies for each community to mitigate flood risks in the future. Conceptual designs were devloped for several projects utilizing such processes as ArcGIS analysis, HEC-RAS modeling, and AutoCAD drafting. The project team authored a report for each community detailing the findings of the study and explaining site-specific and broadly applicable methods for improving community flood resiliency.
Mad River Valley Flood Resilient Transportation
In 2014, Bear Creek Environmental and an engineering firm were selected by the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission to conduct a flood resilient transportation study in the Mad River Valley towns of Fayston, Waitsfield, and Warren. The Valley incurred extensive damage to its transportation network during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011; this study aimed to identify potential flood hazards within the transportation network and devise projects and strategies to reduce the associated risks.
The project team utilized a variety of methods to conduct this flood hazard mitigation study including geospatial analysis, field investigation, and collaboration with various local partners. Project scientists devised a list of nine potential strategies that can be used by town officials to improve flood resiliency at vulnerable sites. Flow charts were created with a decision matrix that allows town employees/officials to determine which infrastructure improvement strategy is most suitable for any given site of concern. These strategies were also applied to the at-risk sites identified in this study to make specific recommendations for infrastrcture improvement that the towns can readily implement. This study was a pilot study, the results of which will be applied to future studies in different towns in Vermont.
Flowchart prepared in collaboration with DuBois and King, Inc.