Shumlin kicks off long-term Irene recovery effort

first_img1 SUPPORT VERMONTERS AFFECTED BY IRENE: Through a networkof federal, state, local, non-profit, philanthropic and volunteerorganizations, Vermont will provide ongoing assistance to individualsand families affected by Irene. Our efforts will assist Vermonters withboth short and long-term challenges, helping them to rebuild their lives,and find safe and affordable homes.â ¢ Action: Ensure a robust case-management network to aid survivorsâ ¢ Action: Launch ‘Vermont Strong’ fundraising and recovery eff ortâ ¢ Action: Continue crisis counseling in affected communitiesâ ¢ Action: Keep hunger awareness highâ ¢ Action: Provide a range of options to affected homeowners and rentersâ ¢ Action: Encourage relocation of housing at risk to future floodingâ ¢ Action: Push National Flood Insurance Program to process remainingIrene claimsâ ¢ Action: Develop a mechanism for collecting housing-needs dataâ ¢ Policy: Irene increased need for affordable housingâ ¢ Policy: Review recovery issues unique to mobile homes2 ENSURE ECONOMIC RECOVERY AND RESILIENCY: Ourlong-term recovery depends on the development of strong and robustlocal economies. Vermont will support businesses and farmswith targeted assistance to aid recovery.â ¢ Action: Support continuation of small business assistance through VEDAâ ¢ Innovation: Establish small business champions teamâ ¢ Action: Expand small business toolbox and increase downtown tax creditsâ ¢ Action: Implement aggressive post-Irene tourism marketing planâ ¢ Action: Monitor farm viability for spring 2012 and possibly beyondâ ¢ Innovation: Expand interaction among agriculture partnersâ ¢ Innovation: Utilize a case-management system at the Agency of Agriculture,Food and Marketsâ ¢ Action: Enhance emergency preparedness and continuity of operationsplanning for businesses and farmers3 FOSTER COMMUNITY RECOVERY: Vermont will champion localrecovery by partnering with towns and cities in their ongoingeff orts to rebuild infrastructure, restore services and assist residentsand businesses.â ¢ Action: Expand fi nancial support to severely affected townsâ ¢ Action: Maximize Public Assistance 406 hazard mitigation fundsâ ¢ Action: Prioritize disaster funding for community recoveryâ ¢ Action: Continue State support for strong local recoveryâ ¢ Action: Encourage community service to aid recoveryâ ¢ Action: Memorialize Irene’s impact4 REBUILD OUR ROADS, BRIDGES AND RAILS: Vermont willcontinue its strong work at a state and local level to rebuild and repairroads, bridges, culverts and rails damaged by Irene without losingsight of the overall infrastructure needs.â ¢ Action: Continue repairs and monitor for new hazardsâ ¢ Action: Enhance traveler-information servicesâ ¢ Action: Qualify State Snowmobile Trail System for FEMA PAâ ¢ Action: Expand inter-agency collaboration and coordinationâ ¢ Innovation: Convene transportation innovation working groupâ ¢ Innovation: Create rapid bridge deployment pilotâ ¢ Policy: Consider hazard mitigation and flood resiliency in project designand prioritizationâ ¢ Policy: Sustain focus on statewide transportation program5 MANAGE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: Vermont will continueto honor its strong environmental ethic through the ongoing responseand recovery. Our efforts will apply river and flood-plainmanagement that protects our communities and our environment in partnershipwith local government, small businesses, farmers and propertyowners.â ¢ Action: Continue ongoing remediation of debris and siltâ ¢ Action: Establish rapid response team to monitor river actionâ ¢ Action: Maximize federal funds for channel stabilization and debris removalâ ¢ Action: Update bridge and culvert hydraulic design manuals in Vermontâ ¢ Innovation: Expand best practices education for river managementâ ¢ Action: Coordinate efforts to protect farmlandâ ¢ Action: Coordination with federal partnersâ ¢ Policy: Review flood-plain management policiesâ ¢ Policy: Evaluate hazardous waste storageâ ¢ Policy: Evaluate emergency response powers for environmental hazards6 PREPARE FOR FUTURE DISASTERS: To better prepare for futuredisasters, Vermont will apply lessons learned from Irene for planning,emergency response and recovery.â ¢ Action: Increase training on Incident Command Systemâ ¢ Action: Update State Emergency Operations Plan and State Hazard Mitigationplanâ ¢ Action: Encourage towns to update and/or develop emergency operationsplansâ ¢ Action: Develop community communication systemâ ¢ Action: Develop a goods-management strategyâ ¢ Action: Improve volunteer management capabilitiesâ ¢ Innovation: Establish Higher Education Volunteer Council. Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin presented the Irene Recovery Report January 8 and launched the Community Recovery Partnership.Shumlin said the Community Recovery Partnership will target affected towns and regions with facilitated local and regional conversations and cross-agency state support, as well as supporting collaboration in long-term planning and implementation of recovery efforts.‘We know that all recovery is local and the best role for the State is to support the towns. The first step is to talk with communities about both their current needs and their future plans, in order to better gauge the additional assistance they will need going forward,’ the governor said. ‘We need to harness the incredible community energy of the past two months and direct it toward rebuilding Vermont into a stronger, smarter and safer state.’Shumlin said the recovery needs vary from town to town and region to region. To best understand these needs, the state will ask town residents to share their views and ideas.‘True recovery is a community-powered process and we are eager to have local leaders who emerged during the Irene response be active participants,’ said Neale Lunderville, Vermont’s first Irene Recovery Officer. “These conversations will inform the state’s long-term recovery plan and help set the direction for the future.”The first round of conversations will begin next week and occur over the next few months. The State of Vermont will not provide direct financial assistance to towns, it can provide time and expertise to help craft a plan for the future. All visits will include a team from the Agencies of Commerce & Community Development, Transportation, Human Services and Natural Resources, as well as representatives from the Regional Planning Commissions and Regional Development Corporations. Through a combination of public hearings and meetings with stakeholder groups, communities and regions will outline their long-range recovery vision and capacity on issues like housing, transportation and economic development. This, in turn, will enable the Shumlin administration to match needs with existing services in the short term, but also create a long-term state recovery plan that leaves Vermont in better shape than before Tropical Storm Irene hit.‘Our goal is to support communities as they make the hard decisions about recovery,’ said Noelle MacKay, Commissioner of Economic, Housing and Community Development, who will spearhead this initiative through her department. ‘Having cross-agency teams is critical as we help towns identify gaps in capacity and need, as well as trends worth pursuing.’The governor will personally lead the first several workshops. The first conversation will be held in the Mad River Valley (details TBA). Towns that are interested in having a community conversation with the State should contact Faith Ingulsrud @ [email protected](link sends e-mail) or by calling 802-828-5228. Route 125 in Ripton under repair August 29, the day after Irene struck Vermont. Photo by Ed Barna. IRENE RECOVERY REPORTThe Irene Recovery Report (www.vtstrong.vermont.gov/(link is external)) details different stages of the recovery. One is the ongoing recovery effort for people and places. Those places include homes, businesses, nonprofits, infrastructure and government. Large portions of several communities, including Wilmington in the far south and Waterbury in the north-central part of the state were severely damaged and require extensive rebuilding. Vermont state government was among those entities which were shut down temporarily by the August 28 tropical storm. Many homes, businesses and government places were destroyed and will not be rebuilt because they were either too badly damaged or are in a location too prone to future flooding.Another  aspect of the report is environmental remediation. While much of the damage was beyond the scope of reasonable human endeavor to prepare for, the design of roadbeds, bridges and especially culverts are seen as weaknesses in the system that can be successfully addressed. The rapid repair of the infrastructure in some cases will have to be redressed to restore the ecological damage done by both the storm itself and the need to repair the infrastructure quickly.And of course the state must prepare for the next storm, as much as that is possible, from emergency management to infrastructure design.The 72-page report was prepared by former Irene Recovery Officer Neale Lunderville and sent to the governor on January 3, 2012. Lunderville then returned to Green Mountain Power and Governor Shumlin appointed Deputy Transportation Secretary Sue Minter to fill the post.The report outlines key recovery strategies that fall into three principal categories:ACTION: These are recovery actions that are either currently underway or are planned in the coming months. These activities are essential to continuing the progress of Irene recovery, as well as to enhance policies and procedures that improve disaster response.POLICY: From improving traveler information to flood-plain management, Irene raised policy questions both small and large. Where possible, this report offers a recommendation on resolving those questions.If the scope of the policy is too broad, this report offers either guidance or a framework to make decisions in collaboration with the Legislature and other partners.INNOVATION: These recovery strategies are recommendations on how Vermont can take innovations discovered during Irene response and recovery, and apply them to the ongoing business of government. http://www.vtstrong.vermont.gov/Portals/0/Documents/Irene_Recovery_Repor…(link is external)last_img