Hoosic River Flood Risk Management Study

The Hoosic River Flood Risk Management Study is a 4-year, $4.5 million study cost shared between the U.S Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Baltimore District, and the City of North Adams, Massachusetts (the non-federal sponsor). A federal cost-sharing agreement was signed in August 2023 that began the General Investigations (GI) feasibility study. The goals of this study include investigating problems associated with flood risk management and opportunities for ecosystem restoration North Adams, MA, and determining potential solutions to the identified problems.

Historically, North Adams experienced multiple devastating flood events including the “Great Hurricane of 1938” when two deaths were reported. In 1961, USACE New England District constructed a flood risk management system consisting of levees, and a concrete channel to reduce the risk of flooding within the city. These flood risk measures played a significant role in reducing flood inundation during the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia in 2005 and Hurricane Irene in 2011. Due to the age of the system, since 2013, several panels within the concrete chute have fallen and concrete deterioration has been noted by the city, which poses a risk to the future performance of the system.

Baltimore Coastal Study Area

The Hoosic River begins in MA, flows north into Vermont, and then flows west where it converges with the Hudson River in New York. The North and South Branches of the Hoosic River converge in downtown North Adams at an historic mill building where one of the City’s major tourist destinations, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), is located. Within downtown North Adams, there are two interconnected flood protection systems: a constructed concrete channel (or chute system) located on both the North and South Branches of the Hoosic River, and constructed levees and a pump station located on the South Branch. Schools, city parks, and residential and commercial properties are located within and on the edges of the floodplain of the protected area and, in some cases, directly alongside the concrete chute and levee systems.

Study Objectives

The objectives identified for the study by the Project Delivery Team (PDT) and presented at the first major milestone meeting are:

  • Reduce risks to life, health, safety, and property associated with riverine flooding from the Hoosic River in North Adams, MA.
  • Reduce risks of failure within the USACE-constructed Flood Risk Management (FRM) system in North Adams, MA.
  • Improve community resilience.
  • Reduce the risk of flooding from the Hoosic River in economically disadvantaged communities and historic properties in North Adams, MA.
  • Increase the quantity or quality of riverine habitat within North Adams, MA to benefit native fish and wildlife resources.

Public Meeting Information

Nov. 2, 2023 Public Meeting Presentation

Contact

If you have any information related to flooding or flood risk management that may be relevant to this study, including reports, photos or other digital data, as well as climate change impact analyses or studies, please share this information with the study team by sending an email to XXX