The Flume Makes an Appearance at the River Workshop in Farmington

Last Wednesday (June 19th) at the Farmington Town office, SRPC partnered up with the Cocheco River Local Advisory Committee to co-sponsor a workshop intended for those interested in learning more about why rivers do what they do. In a collaborative effort, we were able to bring together a panel of speakers and water resource specialists to discuss river function and the upcoming Mad River restoration project. Topics included: an overview of the NH Rivers Management and Protection Program, a slide show of Mad River pictures taken during a fluvial erosion study, an update to the Mad River restoration project, and a model flume demonstration.

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Farmington residents witness the model
flume in action

The model flume, a crowd favorite, demonstrates the relationship between flowing water over the land and how development modifications can change the dynamic of that interaction. It is a useful demonstration for topics, such as how do we design our bridges or culverts to make sure that they are compatible with stream flow processes?

During the demonstration the attendees, who  included Conservation Commission, the Selectmen, and local residents, were asked to participate in simulating past, current, and future conditions seen on the Mad River. What happens to an undersized culvert during a high flow event? What happens to a river that has been artificially straightened? Why are certain banks eroding? Each scenario was put to the test and instead of waiting for weeks, months, or even years for the effects, the model was able to produce “what if” results for everyone to see in a matter of minutes.

This interactive process was successful in displaying how rivers function and was a critical step in educating the community on river flooding and bank erosion.

According to Cocheco River Local Advisory Committee Chair, Lorie Chase, “Seven named rivers and brooks flow down from the surrounding hills and through Farmington’s valley neighborhoods where they join together as the Cocheco River. Understanding how those streams function is key to restoring the problem sites in Town. The Cocheco River Local Advisory Committee was pleased to work with SRPC and State water resource specialists to present this program for the residents of Farmington. We look forward to participating in the upcoming Mad River restoration project.”

On behalf of our organization I would like to extend a special thanks to Lorie Chase, Jacquie Colburn, Shane Csiki, Jeremy Nicoletti, and Sally Soule. Without their help, this workshop would not have been possible.

We have made the entire workshop available to view online, to download click here.

If you would like to know more about this event or the topics discussed, please email Kyle Pimental or call 603-994-3500.