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EPA and FEMA Partner to Strengthen Vermont Communities’ Flood Response and Preparation

Release Date: 12/16/2013
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

The following press release was issued jointly by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New England Regional Office and Federal Emergency Management Agency, Vermont Joint Field Office

(Boston, Mass. – Dec. 16, 2013) – EPA, the State of Vermont and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are helping small towns in the Mad River Valley and elsewhere in Vermont prepare for catastrophic storms such as Tropical Storm Irene, which caused widespread flooding damage in August 2011.

Flooding from Tropical Storm Irene caused major damage to roads, homes and businesses in Vermont. Vermont's Agency of Commerce and Community Development, along with the Agency of Natural Resources, Agency of Transportation, and the Mad River Valley Planning District, requested EPA assistance in recovering from flood impacts and planning for long-term resilience to future floods. Through EPA’s Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program, EPA has coordinated closely with the state agencies and FEMA to assist several small villages in the Mad River Valley as they recovered and considered ways to increase their resilience to future flooding incidents.

EPA drew lessons from its work in the Mad River Valley to prepare a guidance document outlining policy options communities can consider to increase their flood resilience, while FEMA funded a policy memo to help state agencies plan for, respond to and recover from future flooding. A final EPA report will be released in 2014; however, the preliminary draft document is already informing action by the state.

These products and the collaboration among EPA, FEMA, and the State of Vermont have focused on helping small Vermont communities impacted by Irene recover and grow in safer locations. The work has also helped state agencies review their programs and state policies to improve floodplain management and plan for future growth.

EPA’s Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program is an annual, competitive solicitation open to state, local, regional and tribal governments, as well as non-profits that have partnered with a governmental entity, that want to incorporate smart growth techniques into their future development. The assistance is tailored to the community's unique situation and priorities, and is designed to help the community achieve its goal of encouraging growth that fosters economic progress and environmental protection.

More information:

- The interim EPA-funded guidance document outlines policy options Vermont communities can consider implementing to enhance their flood resilience (http://accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities/opportunities/planning/resiliency/sgia)

- The FEMA-funded state policy memo outlines strategies and approaches Vermont agencies can consider implementing to help with planning for, responding to and recovering from floods in the future (http://accd.vermont.gov/sites/accd/files/Documents/strongcommunities/cpr/VT-StateAgencyPolicyOptionsFINAL_web.pdf)

- Preliminary materials and other information on flood planning are available on Vermont’s Web site (http://accd.vermont.gov/strong_communities/opportunities/planning/resiliency)

- Find more information about EPA's Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program (http://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/sgia.htm)

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