95 years later: Lessons on resilience from the 1927 flood

The following is from a Department of Environmental Conservation press release.

Montpelier — In November 1927, Vermont endured a devastating flood, rivaled only more recently by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011. On the 95th anniversary of the flood, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) shares lessons on flood resilience.

“Flooding is our state’s most common natural disaster,” said DEC Commissioner John Beling. “To protect both people and infrastructure, we work to reduce the risk of flooding and damage. This proactive planning improves our state’s flood resilience – or our ability to quickly recover.”

Department of Environmental Conservation

The USGS Stream Gauge in Moretown shows the height of recent floods along the Mad River; River Scientist Gretchen Alexander points to the records from November 1927 and August 2011.

Nearly 100 years ago, heavy rainfall hit Vermont when soils were already soaked from fall rains. In some places, rivers flowed through communities 13 feet higher than normal, causing devastation across the state and New England.

The fallout was grim, taking 84 lives and destroying countless homes, buildings, bridges, roads, and railroads. With the massive spring flood in the Mississippi Valley, and then the November flood in New England, the federal government began efforts to help communities recover.

The UVM Landscape Change Program has an online database where visitors can search “1927 flood” to view photos of the impact and recovery process in Vermont.

“Today, our Rivers Program protects and restores the natural functions and processes of river corridors and floodplains. Through protection and restoration, the Program aims to slow the flow of excessive water and reduce the damaging, erosive power of flood water,” said Beling. “Plus, these measures improve flood resilience, protect clean water, and support wildlife.”

The DEC Rivers Program works with landowners, towns, regional planning commissions, non-governmental agencies, and agencies of the state and federal government to reduce the risk of damage from flooding. By focusing development to safe locations, Vermonters can reduce the risk of damage to the many homes and roads already in harm’s way.

Community members can visit FloodReady.vt.gov to find community data and planning resources to help them identify flood and erosion hazards and reduce risk to their community. Municipal officials can visit FloodTraining.vt.gov for tools and information about the flood map updates currently underway.

“Floods are common and natural, and they don’t need to be disasters,” said Ned Swanberg with the DEC Rivers Program. “If we act together, we can choose a future with thriving, safe communities and clean water.”

To learn more about the Flood Resilience work of Vermont River Scientists, Engineers, and Regional Floodplain Managers. If Ned Swanberg is not available, contact Shannon Pytlik at 802-490-6158 or Shannon.Pytlik@vermont.gov.

Images courtesy of Public domain and Department of Environmental Conservation
Spread the love