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New Stream Alteration Rules, Permit and Management Guidelines from VT DEC

posted May 8, 2014, 1:54 PM by Lyn Munno   [ updated Oct 22, 2014, 11:29 AM ]

Here is a message from Mike Kline, Vermont Rivers Program:

A team in Vermont has just completed a body of work we are pleased to share. While the VT Rivers Program has been under development for a decade, there has been a cascade of public policy around river and floodplain management since the devastation wrought by Tropical Storm Irene nearly 3 years ago. We now have: 

Stream Alteration Rules
Stream Alteration General Permit
Standard River Management Principles and Practices, plus Appendix 
(Prepared for the VTDEC by Milone & MacBroom, Inc. and Fitzgerald Environmental Associates, LLC) 

These regulations and technical guides center on the principles of fluvial geomorphology. We have set standards for managing our streams and rivers toward dynamic equilibrium conditions. We have also set a connectivity standard for the vertical and horizontal continuity so important to functioning floodplains and aquatic organism passage. 

Our new Rules and General Permit engender standards for conducting emergency and next-flood protective measures that place a priority on public safety and infrastructure while maximizing the extent to which we achieve our equilibrium and connectivity standards.  

The Standard Principles and Practices are written to serve the technician working to solve problems, analyze alternatives, and design river projects. We are in the process of bringing this body of knowledge and technique to the local practitioner through our River and Roads Training Program (see box on this page) which is in its second year of promoting basic equilibrium principles in resolving human-river conflicts in post-disaster situations and otherwise.
I have talked with many of you over the years about the development of this and similar programs and I thank you for the ideas, guidance, and wisdom you have shared along the way. I hope that if you look at these materials, you will continue to share your ideas for building and improving this new paradigm for river management. 

In the next months or year, we hope to publish a companion set for river corridor and floodplain protection in Vermont based on the same fluvial geomorphic principles. If we are successful in protecting our river corridors and floodplains, we won’t have to worry (as much) about managing rivers!