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Hoosic River Corridor Plan

In October of 2015, the Pownal Select Board and Planning Commission held a joint meeting to discuss the need for the town to develop a hazard mitigation plan. Much of that discussion revolved around the vulnerability of several of the mobile home parks in the town to flooding. Flooding can result from waters rising along the Hoosic or from restricted flows through culverts that pass under the railroad.

The BCRC applied for and received a grant from the Ecosystem Restoration Program to develop a corridor plan and to identify projects to address flooding and stormwater management issues. Sediments now wash into both Ladd Brook and Tubbs Brook from eroding gravel roads and nearby uplands. The main stem of the Hoosic is experiencing channel and land erosion from unvegetated streambanks. Floodplain restoration, erosion and sediment control and other strategies need to be identified to help reduce sediment flow. In some locations, blocked culverts may have caused flooding of mobile home parks. Some culverts carry flows beneath the rail line that parallels the river. Replacing culverts or using other means to reduce flooding threats, such as enhancing wetlands to store storm flows, are needed to increase flood resiliency.

The BCRC has hired Fitzgerald Environmental Associates in Colchester, Vermont to complete the corridor plan. Fitzgerald Environmental Associates will complete assessments of Ladd and Tubbs Brooks as well as the Hoosic main stem. They will also complete bridge and culvert assessments to identify needed improvements. Riparian buffer plantings, land conservation to protect areas from development that would affect storm flows and sedimentation, river corridor easements to compensate for loss of land due to changes in river geometry, and enhancements to wetlands to provide increase flood storage will evaluated. From all of this, 25 potential projects will be identified and project packages will be developed for the five priority projects. These packages can be used to apply for further funding from several state grant sources.

A steering committee has been established consisting of representatives from The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, and including Jason Olansky from the Pownal Select Board, to review the study results as they become available. Results should be available in 2017 with a presentation to the town in the spring or summer of that year. For questions, please contact Michael S. Batcher at 802-442-0713 x 2 or mbatcher@bcrcvt.org.