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Reflecting Back and Looking Forward, on the Anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene
By: Corrie (friendv3) 2014.08.28

Three years ago today, on August 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene dumped so much rain across our watershed that, at 10:15 that memorable Sunday evening, the USGS flow gage in Moretown peaked at 24,200 cubic feet per second (cfs). [Today, in 2014, it’s at about 50 cfs, which is in line with the median for this date.]

Since this record-topping flow, Irene has since become a household name, fraught with all kinds of emotions. Irene left damage in its wake of a magnitude previously unimaginable. Today, three years later, our Mad River Valley community is still recovering from Irene – re-establishing our homes and businesses – and at the same time, we’re building our capacity to deal with whatever the future throws us.

Earlier this summer, Friends of the Mad River released our State of the Watershed Report. If you’re an FMR member (or were in the recent past), you received a copy by mail. Today, on the third anniversary of Irene, we’re releasing the digital version. The report details work we’ve done to identify, protect and enhance the ecological, recreational, and community values of the Mad River and its watershed. It tells more stories than just those about our efforts to build the MRV’s resilience to future flooding. But, there’s no mistaking that Irene was a monumental moment – perhaps even a turning point – in the story this watershed and its people have to tell. So many people lost so much and the landscape we knew was so altered. But, also, people came together and saw the strength gained in working as a community and “thinking like a watershed.” We had the opportunity to learn about our vulnerabilities and think about how to move forward protecting them. We’re all doing this work together, each person or organization taking on what they can to build strength in the face of future change. Today is a day to reflect on what this community has gone through, how far we’ve come, and the exciting and innovative work still to be done.

To download the State of the Watershed Report, click here.


“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
- A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh


Photo credit: Dana Allen,

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