Vermont's Roadmap to Resilience

From the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) 'Vermont’s Roadmap to Resilience: Preparing for Natural Disasters and the Effects of Climate Change in the Green Mountain State' is a plan and guidance designed to increase Vermont’s preparedness for the effects of climate change and extreme weather impacts. ISC developed recommendations which are basis of the report, aimed at building the state’s resilience at the community and statewide level.

In 2012-2013, ISC led the Resilient Vermont Project to develop these priority recommendations. The Project engaged hundreds of people, including key leaders from state and local government, the business community, and the nonprofit sector. ISC convened three working groups to focus on key aspects of the challenge: Resilient Landscapes and Communities, Capacity for Emergency Management, and Infrastructure and the Built Environment. Each working group consisted of 10-12 participants drawing from expertise among state agencies, regional and local planning commissions and a variety of nonprofit organizations.

While this plan does not yet outline specific actions to serve frontline communities, it recognizes that vulnerable populations need to be addressed in hazard mitigation planning. They write: "Vulnerable populations can mean a number of things. There are people who live in substandard housing located in flood-prone areas, people without access to transportation, people without personal savings, those with medical needs (such as a reliance on oxygen or prescription medications or in need of mental health counseling), people facing food insecurity that can quickly tip into hunger with a disruption to normal routines, people with physical disabilities, people who are New Americans who may face cultural and language barriers, there are the elderly and children." (p. 15).  The plan suggests that the state should engage their "strong network of social service providers" in hazard mitigation planning and emergency operations to ensure all Vermonters are served. 

The resulting report offers 23 recommendations, which are divided into the four categories: Know Our Risks; Elevate and Integrate Emergency Management; Align Rules and Investments for Stronger Communities; and Work Together and Learn Together.

Background information on the topic, a summary of stakeholders’ overall vision for outcomes, and then detailed priority recommendations are provided for each of the four categories. 

Some of the key recommendations include:

  • Building a statewide Vermont Strong Network to maintain and strengthen community-level resilience efforts.
  • Developing “no adverse impact policy” on new development in floodplains, and looking at the proposed development from a watershed perspective, so that communities up- or downstream are not adversely affected.
  • Getting the best available data into the hands of decision-makers - from climate predictions to floodplain mapping to weather data - so they can plan and invest knowing what’s in store.
  • Integrating disaster preparedness and risk management across every level of government.



Publication Date: December 16, 2013

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  • Adaptation plan

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