Ripton eyes plan to thwart floods

RIPTON — Ripton residents this Tuesday, Nov. 17, will be asked for their feedback on a plan to buttress and stabilize a key stretch of the Middlebury River to prevent it from flooding the village during major storm events. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Ripton Community House.
The river in August of 2008 jumped its banks and flooded portions of Ripton village. Areas along the north bank of the channel were severely eroded during a major storm that month and portions of Route 125 both upstream and downstream of Ripton village got washed out.
Addison County received an presidential emergency declaration as a result of the flooding, which paved a way for federal reimbursement of storm-related damage, as well as a $159,000 grant to help stabilize the stream bank and reduce the potential for future erosion and flood hazards.
Ripton also received a $31,000 state grant to help implement a “Ripton village flood and erosion protection project.”
Town officials hired an engineering firm and a project manager, Amy Sheldon, to scope out a project that tentatively calls for:
• Installing a wall of large rocks — also known as rip-rap — along approximately 710 feet of the north bank of the Middlebury River, along with a channel grade-control weir. Officials also want to steer the current toward an historic flood chute on the south bank of the river.
• Acquiring conservation easements on land upstream and across the river from the village. The intent is to ensure this land never gets developed and provides enough room for the river to follow its natural course.
Ripton officials are not yet sure about the total cost of the project.
“Our intent was to call this (Nov. 17) meeting when there was till enough flexibility in the project design to get feedback from townspeople on what is acceptable and not acceptable,” said Ripton Planning Commission Chairman Warren King.
Based on public feedback, town officials and a contractor will go forward with a project around next summer. In the meantime, the necessary permits and easements will be sought, according to King.
The meeting agenda includes a project overview, construction details and an opportunity for questions and comments.

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