Not A DIY Project
September 1, 2011 5:28 PM   Subscribe

As a result of Irene/Vermont flooding, the stream next to our house diverted into a field and there is now a 10 foot high, 20 foot wide and 40 foot long pile of tree debris where the stream used to be. I am not a chain saw or dynamite guy. How do I/Should I get rid of it? I am worried about the effect of ice jams in the winter. I really don't have money for this. Is there aid for something like this?
posted by Xurando to Grab Bag (8 answers total)
First step: call the Army Corp of Engineers. Not kidding. When it comes to managing your local farm streams and such they'll generally come out and talk with you, come up with a plan, etc., as part of their normal job.
posted by introp at 5:31 PM on September 1, 2011

Normally that might be a good idea, but considering the scope of the damage here in Vermont, it might be a long while before they get out here.
posted by Xurando at 5:35 PM on September 1, 2011

I'd suggest checking out the people offering services in a regional folder in the VT Response forum. There are a lot of people offering help who have equipment and want to help. While your issue may not be their first priority, it would be worthwhile talking to some folks who are engaged in relief efforts and maybe even have them eyeball what needs to happen so you could make a work plan.
posted by jessamyn at 6:17 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

I guarantee you need some kind of permit for this. Call an agency, or seven until someone helps you: Army Corps, Soil and Water, Natural Resources, Fish and Game, Resource Conservation District, Township Flood District, County Maintenance etc. Do NOT go out there with a backhoe until you know that stream isn't the home of the last red-polka dotted water garter snake. Or something.
posted by fshgrl at 8:39 PM on September 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Thought of another avenue to help you find resources to tackle this -- the Vermont 211 service.

(With one caveat -- you may want to wait a week or two to call. Their call center is a bit overwhelmed right now -- they are currently asking for volunteers to help with that.)
posted by vers at 6:46 AM on September 2, 2011

I guarantee you need some kind of permit for this.

Probably not for removing debris that was left high and dry out in a field or former stream channel. But the appropriately-named fshgrl is correct that permits will likely be needed for in-water work in the new channel, unless they have issued some kind of emergency waiver because of the floods. (Around here, people wait for flooding to do in-stream work that would never otherwise be allowed, because the county and the Corps inevitably give a blanket thumbs up for emergency repairs, without having the capacity or interest in keeping an eye on the work that landowners actually do.)

But for accessing aid for this, I would definitely be phoning your county first, particularly if you can make the argument that the debris jam is increasing the risk of downstream flooding in the future. If they aren't helpful, then I'd work my way down the list of agencies in fshgrl's answer, being polite but persistent. Removal of that amount of debris shouldn't be crazy expensive (probably less than a day with a track hoe with a bucket thumb), so I don't think you are talking big money unless the stream needs total reconstruction or a bridge is involved.
posted by Forktine at 7:06 AM on September 2, 2011

The Agency of Natural Resources is asking people to call them before mucking about with this type of thing. The main office in Waterbury is closed due to flooding, but the regional offices are open.

Chances are you can proceed without too much hassle- I think they're mostly concerned with human activity-related chemicals getting pushed back into streams, etc.

As you probably know, county governments in Vermont don't do a whole lot other than sheriffs and courts. You might try your local regional planning commission, which are acting as clearinghouses for recovery info, or certainly call 211.
posted by GodricVT at 7:24 AM on September 2, 2011

Why not burn it? Wait for a drizzly day and set it on fire.
posted by schyler523 at 9:59 AM on September 2, 2011

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