Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Flood Inundation Maps & Report Released for Lake Champlain & Richelieu River

In the last post, information was provided about the draft report prepared by a working group of the International Joint Commission (IJC) about flood inundation and forecasting in the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River watershed.  The IJC is a a collaboration between the US and Canada to provide coordination, management and protection of shared watersheds. Here in Vermont, we have representatives that have been appointed to the International Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Technical Working Group.

Today, the final report that came out of the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River Technical Working Group was released.  The report, A real-time flood forecasting and flood inundation mapping system for the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River watershed, was an outcome of a 2013 comprehensive Plan of Study.

From the press release:

"The IJC endorses the TWG observation that enhanced coordination among agencies involved in real-time forecasts is necessary to support the development and maintenance of forecast models and quality-controlled joint water level predictions. The Commission endorses the TWG recommendation that a binational coordination body be mandated and funded to consolidate and synthesize flood forecasting work undertaken domestically into a single binational flood forecast. This body would also be charged with developing and disseminating consistent messaging to emergency responders and the public.

"Consequently, the new IJC report does not evaluate potential flood mitigation measures as this was outside the terms of reference provided by governments.

"The Commission reiterates its strong recommendation that governments implement the full scope of the 2013 Plan of Study (PoS) to evaluate past impacts, flood plain management practices and adaptation strategies, and to assess soft (i.e., low impact and cost) to moderate flood mitigation measures and their impacts."

An outcome of the report was a series of inundation flood maps that show the areas of the Lake Champlain and Richelieu River shorelines that would be inundated when the Lake flood waters are at a certain height. Again, from the press release:

"The inundation maps show flooding potential under different flood scenarios and are not designed for regulatory purposes. A preview of these maps is available on the IJC web site at: http://arcg.is/1MhXui2."

Please take some time to explore the inundation maps, as well as read through the final report which can be found at http://ijc.org/files/publications/Lake-Champlain-IJC-Report-to-Govts-Dec-2015-NEW.pdf