The Current - July/August 2019
The Public Advisory Group publishes this bimonthly newsletter to keep you informed about the Lake Champlain Richelieu River (LCRR) flooding study.
Letter from the Public Advisory Group Co-Chairs
Thank you for your continued interest in the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River flooding study. The study board and its partners are hard at work finalizing the Causes and Impacts Report, expected to be completed and published by the end of the year. As the name suggests, this report will detail what conditions and factors led to past flooding incidents – notably the disastrous 2011 floods – and what sort of aftereffects came out of these floods. The report is being built out of detailed work being done by study members and partner organizations and will prove useful as the International Joint Commission (IJC) leads up to developing recommendations for the Canadian and US governments.
Over the summer, members of the study have been participating in local events and have met local residents and groups within the Lake Champlain-Richelieu River basin, and are currently finalizing continued outreach plans into the fall months.
The next set of formal public meetings, originally announced for the week of November 18 2019, are now planned in the new year, so stay tuned to our website for updates as we settle on dates, times and venues.
Madeleine Papineau, Canadian Co-Chair
Kristine Stepenuck, US Co-Chair
Reaching out in the basin
When the flooding study was agreed upon, the IJC tasked the new LCRR study board with engaging with the community: government agencies, residents, municipalities, property owners, indigenous people, farmers, businesses and recreational users of the watershed. So far, the study board has done this in part by holding a series of formal and informal public meetings in several communities on both sides of the border. The next formal set of public meetings are planned for Spring 2020.
In the US, this year, the board has started going beyond these traditional meetings and has begun reaching out to the public at events in the area, such as farmers markets, county fairs and community festivals. Furthermore, the study board held community meetings August 12-15, with two in Vermont and two in New York, to keep lakeshore property owners and elected officials informed about the study’s progress and to get their thoughts, questions and feedback. About 80 people attended these meetings, sharing a variety of concerns that ranged from loss of property due to erosions, challenges with flood insurance and local policies, and interest in connecting with others within their communities about flooding issues and how they might become more resilient in the future. A Public Advisory Group member also attended the Plattsburgh, New York Farmers Market on July 20 as part of the study’s community events outreach; additional such community event appearances are being worked out for the fall.
In Canada, study partners with the University of Montreal have met with local stakeholders in two municipalities in Quebec on July 30 and August 7 to gain local knowledge on flood vulnerability issues and risk perception and to present the preliminary results from the research team. Over the next few weeks, they will meet with two additional municipal groups where data was gathered. The study is also working to organize a series of meetings in the fall with local chambers of commerce, local decision makers, key government departments (agriculture, municipal affairs, environment), and environmental groups (among others); a calendar is being finalized for this purpose.
Michele D’Amours has joined the study as our new communications advisor.
New on the Web
More information is provided about the study’s outreach activities in a new article appearing in the IJC’s Water Matters newsletter. You can read it here.
Public participation is an important part of the study process. Want to know how you can be part of the conversation? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.