Department of Housing & Community Development

Plan Today for Tomorrow's Flood

How can our communities better prepare for future flood events? How can a town’s plan, visions policies and regulations be improved to better support flood resilience?   These were some of the questions citizens raised through the Community Recovery Partnership (CRP) forums in the months following the floods of 2011 that devastated Vermont.

Community Resilience - The ability to adapt to changing conditions and be prepared to withstand, and recover from, disruptions due to emergencies.

The Community Planning and Revitalization Division continues to work with Vermont communities and partners to incorporate the lessons learned from past flooding to make communities safer, reduce the cost of future damage and protect vital areas of economic activity and community services. Our planning initiatives include:

Vermont Economic Resiliency Initiative (VERI) - VERI mapped areas where river flooding and other hazards overlap centers of economic activity, roads, and other public investments. We work in 5 Vermont communities – Barre, Brandon, Brattleboro, Enosburgh, and Woodstock- and support local creation of plans to manage and reduce flood risk.

Between April 6-30, 2015 the VERI team will be holding community meetings in the five pilot towns to share project ideas to reduce flood risk.  Community input is needed. Please help by reviewing and prioritizing the proposed recommendations.   The draft reports and meeting schedule are below:

For more information on the forum, or to submit comments about the report electronically, please contact Wendy Rice

Rebuilding Stronger – The following documents, produced with help from the EPA-Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) program and FEMA, offer guidance to Vermont's local and state governments in preparing for future flooding

The Vermont Downtown Action Team [V-DAT] – building action-oriented plans to strengthen the identity and economic vitality of eight downtowns and villages affected by Tropical Storm Irene. For more information about the eight communities and the work of the Vermont Downtown Action Team please click here.

Resilient Vermont – an Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) initiative with state agencies, organizations and businesses throughout Vermont to identify a joint set of statewide actions for becoming more resilient.

New Flood Resilience Requirement for Municipal and Regional Plans

Recognizing the need for all communities to address the increasing likelihood of extreme weather including more frequent flooding, the state legislature passed Act 16 (H.401) in 2013 – An act relating to municipal and regional planning and flood resilience. This law requires that all local and regional plans adopted after July 2014 address flood resilience. Resources to help municipalities plan for future flooding include the following:

Flood Ready Vermont - resources designed to help Vermont communities become more flood resilient.

Disaster Recovery and Long-Term Resilience Planning in Vermont – a 2013 guidance document for local flood resilience created with help from the EPA-Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) program.  (See this page for more information: Rebuilding Stronger - Learning from the Mad River Valley.)

Preparing for the Next Flood: Vermont Floodplain Management – This 2009 publication by the Vermont Law School provides a short but thorough overview of the issues and terminology associated with municipal management of floodplains.

Floodplain Fact Sheets - The Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission (TRORC) presents a series of six fact sheets to help educate local officials and residents about flood hazards and floodplain management.

Flood Damage Mitigation Incentives for Municipalities under the New ERAF Rule – A summary by VLCT of the ERAF (Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund) rule defining the state-recommended mitigation measures for towns to become eligible for state funding on the match required for FEMA Public assistance grants. 

Leadership in Times of Crisis: A Toolkit for Economic Recovery and Resiliency – A guide, funded in part by an Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant, designed to help communities recover their economy after a disaster. 

Floodproofing Case Studies -3 fact sheets demonstrating different techniques - elevation, water resistant building materials, floodgates, perimeter walls, shoreline protection, and relocation - for floodproofing commercial and historic buildings in the floodplain.  


Faith Ingulsrud, Planning Coordinator