Braintree, Vermont | Source: John Knox



The New Local Emergency Management Plan (LEMP) | 2018 VT Walk/Bike Summit a Success! | Building Resilience in the Ottauquechee | Woodstock Holds Tabletop Exercise | Staff Presented at Eastern Climate Preparedness Conference | Bethel Better Block Celebration | Don't Forget to Change Your Valley.Net Emails!




In order for communities to coordinate disaster response, written plans are paramount to that effort. After a thorough revision by a work group made up of regional planners, emergency management directors and staff from Vermont Emergency Management (VEM), the new Local Emergency Management Plan (LEMP) has now been released. Formerly known as the Local Emergency Operations Plan (LEOP), the LEMP will provide an easier template for towns to follow. There are two different templates, a short one that will involves only the required elements, and a long form for towns that wish to incorporate more steps and information to follow in the event of an emergency. Templates and examples may be found on VEM’s website here: LEMPs will be required for all towns by May 1, 2019. This plan will be part of Vermont’s Emergency Relief and Assistance Fund (ERAF) that allows the state to contribute up to 17.5% of the 25% match for FEMA projects. More information on that can be found here:

VEM and TRORC are encouraging towns to start working on the new template now to see which form fits best for your community. The VEM regional coordinators are offering a three step process for the LEMP: bring the stakeholders/writers together, write the plan, and then practice the plan in a mock setting. If you would like assistance on the LEMP, please contact Tory Littlefield at or the VEM Southern Regional Coordinator Rich Cogliano at



The bi-annual Vermont Walk/Bike Summit was held on May 4, 2018 at the Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction with over 200 participants attending from the New England region. Rita Seto from TRORC and Jason Rasmussen from Southern Windsor County Regional Planning Commission planned this year’s summit in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Transportation. A thrilling keynote on bringing bike tourism to rural communities was given by Russ Roca, co-owner of The Path Less Pedaled, a bike travel blog turned business. Three awards were given to a Walk/Bike Professional – Jason Van Driesche, Local Motion, a Walk/Bike Volunteer Advocate – Alice Charkes, Brattleboro Coalition of Active Transportation, and to a Notable Project – Vermont Huts Association, RJ Thompson & The Velomont Trail, Angus McCusker.

The next summit will be held in 2020 with the location to be determined. To view presentations, see award winners, and learn more about the summit from last month, please visit or contact Rita Seto at


Keynote speaker Russ Roca gives a thrilling talk about how rural bike tourism can surge economic development.
Source | Katharine Otto


Through a successful grant writing initiative for the High Meadows Fund by TRORC, resilience efforts are starting to take hold in the Ottauquechee River Watershed. This watershed includes the Towns of Bridgewater, Woodstock, Hartford, Hartland, Pomfret, Plymouth, and Barnard in our region. These communities experienced major damage from flooding and erosion during Tropical Storm Irene and other severe weather events since then.

TRORC is currently working to increase the visibility and accessibility of the Ottauquechee River and to promote clean water through its educational outreach initiative. This initiative, which features a partnership with the Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation District (ONRCD) and the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, provides outreach to riparian landowners, and has led to the development of watershed curriculum with teachers and elementary students, and has seen the River Flume Table’s presence at events throughout the watershed.

If you’re interested in taking action to protect clean water, please contact Sue Greenall, district manager of the Ottauquechee Natural Resources Conservation District, at or Pete Fellows at


Former staff member Michael Storace gives a stream table demonstration at an event. 
Source | Rita Seto



What better way to test written plans and processes than through an exercise. TRORC Staff recently dedicated time and funding to assist the Town of Woodstock in exercising their plans and bringing multiple departments together, including the Woodstock police, fire, and ambulance services. Dwight Camp, the town’s Emergency Coordinator, and a longtime major federal disaster responder, had noted that the town had not exercised its emergency plans lately and was eager to have a drill. Dwight worked with Kevin Geiger and Tory Littlefield from TRORC and Rich Cogliano, from Vermont Emergency Management (VEM), to design the exercise. Rich facilitated the morning long exercise as responders and others talked through an accident scenario that shut down US 4 and created a cloud of toxic gas from burning vehicles.

The exercise ended with several agencies having a few to-do actions and everyone feeling better prepared for a real event. Participants were very appreciative of the time spent getting to meet and practice with all of the stakeholders they might have to rely on in a real disaster.

For more information on this tabletop, or if your community is interested in holding their own, please contact Kevin Geiger at or Tory Littlefield at


Several departments and organizations participate in a discussion based exercise at the Woodstock Fire Station.
Source | Tory Littlefield




On May 1st, Kevin Geiger from TRORC and Kristin Baja, the Climate Resilience Officer of the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, co-presented a session on innovative planning at the Local Solutions: Eastern Climate Preparedness Conference in Manchester, NH. This conference was organized by the Antioch University Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience. The presentation was well received and focused on plans, the planning processes, and land use regulations that put climate adaptation into public agendas and land use practice. Kevin is a long-time member of the Upper Valley Adaptation Workgroup.

To view the presentation, please go to or contact Kevin Geiger at for more information.


Kevin Geiger speaks to a large audience about the importance of zoning in regards to climate change.
Source | Lisa Graichen




Better Block is a nationally-renowned process for revitalizaing downtowns and blocks, starting with temporary changes and projects. In 2016, Bethel was selected by the AARP of Vermont to host a Better Block project. Since the successful Bethel Better Block project, a celebration was held on May 19th to commemorate all that has happened since then. A downtown beautification work party was held to clean up the pocket parks, mini events were held that included a pop-up plaza, scavenger hunt, public art projects on the river, and tacos! The event was hosted by the Bethel Revitalization Initiative, Team Better Block, and the Vermont chapter of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). This event was the scaled down version of the larger event held in 2016.

For more information on the event and what its mission is, go to 





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