Lake Champlain Flood Resilience Report Issued

Apr 11, 2013

Lake Champlain flooding 2011
Credit WAMC/Pat Bradley

The Lake Champlain Basin Program has released a new report assessing flood resilience and offering recommendations and management strategies that could prevent major flooding of the kind that occurred in 2011.

On April 13th 2011 Lake Champlain rose above its flood stage and remained above flood level for 67 days. It reached record levels on May 6th.  Then in late August, Tropical Storm Irene again swelled the 100-mile long lake and its outlet, the Richelieu River in Quebec.

The basis of the report issued this week, according to Lake Champlain Basin Program Manager Bill Howland, was a request by Vermont’s Governor and Quebec’s Premier to convene a conference in 2012 in order to understand how the region could be more resilient to floods in the future.

The recommendations include identifying the economic benefits of improved flood resilience; developing hydrological models by mapping frequency and severity of flooding; establishing floodplain development standards; and promoting community acceptance of floodplain management.

Lake Champlain Research Institute Director Tim Mihuc says the report is addressing something that will become even more of an issue in the future.

Lake Champlain International promotes the lake’s ecology and fisheries’ health. Executive Director James Ehlers calls the report an excellent piece of scientific and academic work.

Bill Howland notes that it will take a long time to complete all the recommendations, but some mitigation is beyond the scope of regional efforts.

A link to the report “Flood Resilience in the Lake Champlain Basin and Upper Richelieu River” is available here.