There are several persuasive arguments against the wind turbines project proposed for the Windham and Grafton ridge lines, but one stands out against all the others and ought to convince everyone living in Grafton to reject the project: Grafton is flood-prone, and building the turbines would make this condition dangerously worse.
I have lived in Grafton for 37 years, during which time the town suffered several damaging floods and mudslides. In fact, the south branch of the Saxtons River, which originates almost entirely on the proposed site of the wind turbines, floods Grafton about every seven years. And the town’s worst disaster flood occurred exactly five years ago.
If the turbines are built, Grafton will certainly experience many more damaging floods and mudslides than without the turbines. Grafton sits below the important watershed for the Saxtons River whose two branches flow to and through the town. At an altitude of more than 2,000 feet, that watershed is much higher than Grafton (840 feet), which means that the runoff over the steep slopes (most exceeding a 15 percent grade) from a heavy rainfall is tremendous. Building the proposed turbines would necessitate extensive blasting, bulldozing and impenetrable surfacing of the high-elevation site. Gone would be the protection that healthy forests provide by partly absorbing rainfall into the ground.
No tree roots, moss and grass would be available to slow down the water flowing from the ridges. With huge tracts of forest cut, many roads constructed and a large infrastructure of concrete set up, it would make a perfect recipe for an uncontrolled runoff from a heavy rainfall, swelling of both branches of the Saxtons River and flooding in Grafton.
Do we really want such a future for our town, especially as global warming is predicted to cause for extreme weather events? The answer seems obvious.
Reto Pieth, Grafton, Aug. 24
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