Project at a Glance:
The lower reaches of Whetstone Brook, located in Brattleboro, VT, are highly developed and constrained. As such, the river has lost most of its access to its floodplain, which is important for storing and slowing flood waters. This area has experienced repeated serious flooding that has resulted in significant property and infrastructure damage. Due to the changing climate, these events are only predicted to increase in the future. WCA partnered with Parker Rodriguez and Wagner Hodgson to provide design solutions to reduce flooding frequency and severity and lessen or prevent damage when flooding does occur.
Client: Environmental Protection Agency
Partners: Parker Rodriguez and Wagner Hodgson
Location: Brattleboro, VT
As the Town of Brattleboro was initially settled, the steep topography along the edges of the Connecticut River Valley as well as the need to use the brook for water power concentrated initial development along Whetstone Brook. Many historic buildings remain clustered around the brook. However, as floodplain access has been removed, urban stormwater inputs have risen, and high intensity precipitation events have become more common, the area has been plagued with significant and destructive flooding. The goal of this project was to provide a long-term redesign plan for the town. This plan includes many green stormwater infrastructure features, restored access to the historic floodplain in multiple locations, and a focus on green design for all future development in the area. The result of this study was a plan that includes a toolkit of green strategies to reduce the impacts of future floods while preserving and improving the cultural resource of the village of Brattleboro.
Solutions explored in this study included green stormwater infrastructure tools that will reduce stormwater impacts, reconnecting Whetstone Brook to sections of its historical floodplain to reduce peak flood elevation and flood intensity, strategies and tools for preserving existing infrastructure when unavoidable flooding does occur, and designing future development to be out of harm’s way through careful site planning.