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Money Brook flows steeply down from the mountains carrying sand and gravel, and when it meets the Black River and slows, it drops sediment, creating an “alluvial fan” — a sand and gravel bar. The river has shifted and moved over millennia, finding a new route across the sediment with each flood. But when people build structures like barns too close to the waterway, and the river floods, it can threaten structures. This is exactly what happened during Tropical Storm Irene. When the waters raged, Money Brook didn’t just carry sand and gravel, it carried boulders and whole trees downstream, and the river charted a new path, destroying a barn and leaving behind giant boulders.
In an attempt to stop the river from damaging other structures next time around, State of Vermont contractors ried to force the river into a channel. They piled boulders into a berm stretching from Highway 100 east to the Black River, hoping to force the river into a channel. But water always wins, and the next time Money Brook flooded, the wall of boulders was no match for Money Brook. The brook created a chute through the berm, then fanned out — as it has for millenia — dropping fresh sand and gravel.
Instead of putting resources into continually fighting — and losing — the river, today the land is protected with a river corridor easement. These 18.5-acres will never be developed, and the river can flood, move, and shift over time. This lets Money Brook slow down as it meets the waters of the Black River, lets the river drop debris, and decreases flood risk for people downstream.