Storm Smart

Raindrops on roses may be one of our favorite things but when lots of raindrops flow together they can become a powerful force that washes out driveways, rips apart stream banks, and carries trash and pollution into our rivers and lakes. A combination of heavier storms which drop more rain over a shorter time period, as well as more developed lands, roofs, and compressed lawns that shed water more quickly has made Vermont’s raindrops a dubious challenge for water quality. 

Storm Smart homes use “green stormwater infrastructure” solutions like rain gardens, rain barrels, and water bars to slow down, spread out, and sink in rainfall. Keeping rain water onsite can help keep our rivers clean and clear, and replenish groundwater that we all depend on. Solutions like tree plantings and raising the mower blade can also help grow wildlife habitat and capture carbon. And it can help you be a good neighbor too – water that stays on your property is water that is not washing away town roads or blowing out culverts in big storms. If we all make tiny improvements, together we can grow a healthy and resilient Winooski Watershed.

Storm Smart is a FREE program that provides education and technical assistance to homes to promote green stormwater infrastructure and other stormwater solutions for our watershed and wildlife.

Take a Self Assessment

Wondering what it takes to be Storm Smart? Try our online quiz and see how well you score.

DIY Like a Boss

The Vermont Guide to Stormwater Management for Homeowners and Small Businesses is an incredible resource to help you find potential hot spots around the home, lawn, and driveway and plan out Green Stormwater Infrastructure solutions. It also has great tips for inexpensive changes you can make immediately.

Sign up for a FREE On-Site Assessment

Not sure where or how to start? Knowledgeable staff from the Winooski NRCD, Friends of the Mad River, and Friends of the Winooski River are available to come to your home and help you trace the path water takes through your property. After the in-person assessment you will receive a property prescription card with individualized recommendations to make your home Storm Smart. Almost 100 of your Winooski Watershed neighbors have received an assessment – Will you be the next?

About Storm Smart

Since 2018 residents in the Mad River Valley have received professional assistance from the Friends of the Mad River to figure out how they can make their own homes Storm Smart. Thanks to a grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, the Friends of the Mad River program was able to share all their lessons learned to help the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District and the Friends of the Winooski River offer these free assessments across the entire Winooski Watershed. Check out our partners pages below:

FAQs

What is Green Stormwater Infrastructure, or GSI?
The Vermont Green Infrastructure Collaborative defines Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) as, “systems and practices that restore and maintain natural hydrologic processes in order to reduce the volume and water quality impacts of stormwater runoff.” This broad definition can include everything from the rain barrel next to your porch to the stretch of woods along the edge of the stream that runs through your property. If it helps to slow down, spread out, and sink in water then it is probably Green Stormwater Infrastructure.

Do I Live in the Winooski Watershed?
Below is a map of the boundaries of the Winooski River watershed. If you’re not sure whether you fall within these borders reach out!

How much does a Storm Smart Assessment cost?
Nothing! Storm Smart Assessments are totally free. The program is funded through a grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program.

I don’t see any problems on my property. I don’t need a Storm Smart Assessment, right?
That’s great to hear! Chances are there are already some practices in place on your property and they are doing their job. Even if your property is doing well, a Storm Smart Assessment could help identify even more ways to keep water on your property.

Won’t keeping water on my property cause me problems like flooding?
The goal of the Storm Smart program is to find ways to keep water on your property in a sustainable manner. In general, water should be directed away from the house, parking area, and driveway and towards stable vegetated areas. GSI, like rain gardens or retention ponds, should be built with an overflow outlet to make sure they can handle big storms. Sinking water into your property can also restore groundwater, which provides benefits like refilling wells and keeping plants healthy during dry stretches. 

This project has been funded wholly or in part by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement (LC00A00605) to NEIWPCC in partnership with the Lake Champlain Basin Program.