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    VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT AND CLIMATE ADAPTATION STRATEGIES

    TO REDUCE THE IMPACTS OF FLOODING ON URBAN AGRICULTURE

    Burlington, Vermont has been subject to more intense flooding in

    recent years. These events have direct environmental and economic

    impact on the productivity of urban farming and the local food system.

    This report highlights these effects and aims to present some short and

    long term strategic and sustainable solutions.

    View Related Maps

    By HOLLI HOWARD SEPTEMBER, 2012

    FOCUS: THE

    INTERVALE FARMS:

    BURLINGTON,

    VERMONT

    http://hollihoward.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/intervalemaps.pdf

  • Acknowledgements

    This report was sponsored through a partnership between

    Burlington, Vermont’s CEDO:

    Community and Economic Development Office And

    CLEAN AIR COOL PLANET

    September, 2012

    Appreciation to: Ed Antczak, Jon Adams-Kolitz and Jennifer Green

    Burlington, CEDO Adam Markham, Roger Stephenson and Jennifer Andrews

    Clean Air Cool Planet

    Many Thanks for the Contributions from:

    Travis Marcotte and the Intervale Center The Intervale Farms and Farmers

    Andy Jones and the Intervale Community Farm Thomas Case and Arethusa Farm

    Mike Ingalls and Seth Gillim and Intervale Conservation Nursery Adam Hausman and Adam’s Berry Farm

    Elizabeth Brownlee, University of Vermont, School of Plant and Soil Science

    Lynda Prim, Northeast Organic Farming Association Ginger Nickerson, UVM Cooperative Extension

    Ernesto Mendez, University of Vermont, School of Plant and Soil Science Lesley-Ann Dupigny-Giroux, University of Vermont, Department of Geography

    Will Raap, Founder Intervale and Gardener’s Supply

    Vermont Agency of Natural Resources including

    Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets and

    Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

    Winooski Planning Commission Map and Data Support from the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission

    City of Burlington Office of Planning

  • Acknowledgements ............................................................................................................................................................ 1

    List of Figures ....................................................................................................................................................................... 4

    1.0 Background ......................................................................................................................................................................... 5

    1.1 Climate Change and Increased Flooding in Vermont ................................................................................... 5

    1.2 Impacts on Urban Agriculture in the Region ................................................................................................... 6

    1.3 Agriculture and the Local Food Movement in Vermont .............................................................................. 8

    2.0 Intervale Farms, Burlington, Vermont .................................................................................................................... 9

    2.1 Flooding and Farming at the Intervale ............................................................................................................. 12

    2.2 Economic Impacts and Food Systems Impact ............................................................................................... 15

    2.3 Environmental Damage .......................................................................................................................................... 16

    3.0 Climate Adaptation and Hazard Mitigation ......................................................................................................... 17

    3.1 Primary Causal Factors for the losses ............................................................................................................... 17

    3.1.1 Regulations ............................................................................................................................................................... 18

    3.1.2 Water Quality .......................................................................................................................................................... 18

    3.1.3 Land Conversion and Stream Flow Altered ................................................................................................ 19

    Water Velocity - Top soil eroded and sediment left ...................................................................................... 20

    Storm water runoff from development .............................................................................................................. 21

    3.2 Contaminants of the Lower Winooski subwatershed and the Intervale ............................................ 24

    4.0 Regional Strategies ........................................................................................................................................................ 26

    Strategies adapted from the Winooski River Basin Water Quality Plan (xx): ......................................... 26

    5.0 Intervale Strategies ....................................................................................................................................................... 28

    Recommendations to reduce the impacts of flooding at the Intervale: ..................................................... 28

    5.1 Regulations and Water Quality ............................................................................................................................ 29

    5.2 Regulation of Agricultural Activities ................................................................................................................. 29

    5.3 Secure Caps on Landfills, Household and Infrastructure Hazards ....................................................... 30

    5.4 Reduce or Eliminate the Inundation ................................................................................................................. 31

    5.5 Reduce River Corridor Encroachment and Channel Erosion .................................................................. 31

    Riparian Zone Restoration ....................................................................................................................................... 32

    5.6 Plant Alternative Crops ........................................................................................................................................... 32

    Greenhouses ................................................................................................................................................................... 34

    5.7 Social Capital ............................................................................................................................................................... 35

    Need for Continuing Community Investment in Social Capital at the Intervale ..................................... 36

    6.0 Conclusion and Next Steps ......................................................................................................................................... 37

  • 6.1 Current and Suggested Future Research: ........................................................................................................ 38

    Related Links ........................................................................................................................................................................... 40

    References ................................................................................................................................................................................ 41

    View Supplemental Maps HERE

    Intervale Farms – midsummer, 2012

    http://hollihoward.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/intervalemaps.pdf

  • List of Figures Figure 1: Vermont has the 'wettest' ranking at 117 (Adapted from Betts, 2012; NOAA 2012 (5) ............................. 5

    Figure 2: National Center for Atmospheric Research Extreme Weather Sourcebook (7) .............................................. 6

    Figure 3 - Despite technological improvements that increase corn yields, extreme weather events have caused

    significant yield reductions in some years. Source: USGCRP(12) (2009) .............................................................................. 7

    Figure 4: This map was created by Rob Hunt of the Intervale Center depicting the 2012 Farms at the Intervale.

    Notice how close the farms are to the river's edge. Many do not have a significant riparian buffer. ..................... 10

    Figure 5: Intervale Community Farm distribution and community pick up home base at the Intervale (author

    photo) ................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 11

    Figure 6: Row crops at the Intervale Community Farm (author photo) ...