Parts of Vermont suffered severe flooding after 2011's Hurricane Irene.
Parts of Vermont suffered severe flooding after 2011's Hurricane Irene.

The EPA has released a new tool to help communities prepare for and recover from floods. The Flood Resilience Checklist  offers information on strategies such as conserving land in flood-prone areas, directing new development to safer areas, and using green infrastructure approaches to manage stormwater. “Flooding from major storms has cost lives and caused billions of dollars in damage,” says EPA administrator Gina McCarthy. “With climate change, storms are likely to become even more powerful in many regions of the country. Where and how communities build will have long-term impacts on their flood resilience, and on air and water quality and health and safety. This checklist will help flood-prone communities think through these issues and come up with the solutions that work best for them.”

Items on the checklist include questions for builders and developers such as:
--Does the community require developers who are rebuilding in flood-prone locations to add additional flood storage capacity in any new redevelopment projects such as adding new parks and open space and allowing space along the river’s edge for the river to move during high-water events?
--Is the community planning for development (e.g., parks, river-based recreation) along the river’s edge that will help connect people to the river and accommodate water during floods?

The checklist is part of a new report, "Planning for Flood Recovery and Long-Term Resilience in Vermont: Smart Growth Approaches for Disaster-Resilient Communities." The report is a product of a year-long EPA project in Vermont that helped residents  recover from Tropical Storm Irene. Although the project focused on Vermont, the policy options and checklist in the report can help any community seeking to become more flood resilient, the agency says.