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2011 LAKE
CHAMPLAIN FLOOD

The spring of 2011 will be known as the 70 or so days of high water here in the Lake Champlain Basin. This web page is an accumulation of data, images and video we captured over the course of the two plus months.

We like a milestone, and good record or two and we even like seeing history in the making, but the historic height of Lake Champlain was, well, something we would have been happy to have missed.

But we didn't and true to form we decided to document as much of it as possible and to alert our Lake Champlain friends and ECHO enthusiasts of the comings and goings of our Lake water and all that came with it.

It all started innocently enough with the curiosity and ingenuity of ECHO's IT guy, Travis Cook. He decided to affix a "flood camera" on the upper pane of Julie Silverman's window. Julie is ECHO's Director of New (she deals a lot with the exhibits). Travis decided to point the web camera toward our parking lot where you could see the top part of the boat Moonlight Lady, at her winter mooring on the south side of ECHO, and beyond her the balance of the parking lot.

We found ourselves transfixed by the rising Moonlight Lady, until her tethered lines were so tight she no longer floated up even thought the water continued to rise. Eventually the Moonlight Lady moved a bit north and that opened up the view of the flooding even more. Here is a time lapse video of the flooding as it consumed, receded some, then consumed again, the ECHO parking lot.

 

The rising waters galvanized everyone into action. We put our parking booth up on cinder blocks and pulled our Parking Lot Full sign and put it away. We documented fish in the lot and even Kayakers enjoying the opportunity to poke around. We even saw the brutal waves attempt to rattle the Lone Sailor statue at the U.S. Navy Memorial. We saw sunny days but way fewer of them than the dark rainy ones that kept coming and coming finally adding up to the highest the Lake has ever been, 103.27 on May 6th, which, ironically, was the same day ECHO celebrated the kick off of it's capital campaign ironically named "Get Closer to the Lake". Irony (and some humor) aside, Vermont's Senator Patrick Leahy and Governor Peter Shumlin came to the event and helped to make it special. They also used the location and the day to meet with FEMA officials to discuss the flooding and possible future Federal aid.

ECHO, as a host sight for the USGS Lake Gauge, became a popular stop for the news media as well as pedestrians. Countless images were being posted on the internet and thousands upon thousand of people visited the on-line link to the weather station over the course of the two+ months of the flooding. Local TV stations posted special reports such as WPTZ and FOX44.

2014 LCBSC - ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center/Leahy Center for Lake Champlain - One College St. - Burlington VT 05401 - 1.877.324.6386
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