Flood

The city of Colorado Springs is continuing steps in smoothing over a contentious stormwater issue with its southern neighbor.  City Council yesterday passed a resolution allowing Mayor John Suthers to put $150,000 toward funding a restoration master plan for the Monument Creek Watershed.  Monument Creek flows into Fountain Creek.  High flows there have been causing problems for Pueblo downstream.

Pueblo City Council President Steve Nawrocki says he's been working with Mayor Suthers to address the chronic issue, adding that he's satisfied with the efforts thus far.

Waldo Canyon restoration continues this weekend on Saturday with an effort from Volunteers For Outdoor Colorado. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

The project looks to help protect nearby water supplies, infrastructure, and Highway 24, by working on a number of erosion control issues, including dead tree removal, sandbagging, and reseeding grass and trees.

Volunteer for Outdoor Colorado spokeswoman Jessica Von Duerring says it’s part of an ongoing effort to help restore the burn scar.

Post-Flood Planning in Boulder County

Jul 23, 2014
Boulder County

The historic September 2013 flood reshaped waterways across Colorado’s northern Front Range, making major changes to both the manmade and natural environments.  Over the past ten months, homeowners, planners and policy makers have grappled with difficult decisions over where and how to rebuild, and when to let Mother Nature take her new course.
 

Lyons resident Phyllis Casey stands watching the demolition of her home. The sound of heavy equipment along Apple Valley Road in Lyons competes with the rush of North St. Vrain Creek full of spring run-off.

Impacts from rains like Wednesday’s downpour in El Paso County are lessened due to mitigation work that’s taken place.  KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

Williams Canyon is getting new rain-monitoring equipment from the Colorado Department of Transportation and the US Geological Survey. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports on the installations taking place this week.
 

The new equipment looks to complement the devices installed in Waldo Canyon last year, and are intended to allow CDOT to see the progression of floods as they move toward Highway 24. The new gear includes a real time video feed camera, a remote radar gauge, and an additional rain gauge.

El Paso County

Crews are slated to begin repairs on the final damaged section of Old Stage Road in El Paso County this week. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.

Last September’s flooding caused extensive damage, and the work will include repairing the road and retaining wall, and installing larger culverts. 

El Paso County Engineer Andre Brackin says repairs on Old Stage Road have been ongoing.

The Coalition for the Upper South Platte is looking for volunteers to help with flood mitigation projects along Highway 24 this month. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.

Volunteers are needed to help seed land and create sediment catchment basins in Cascade. These projects are intended to slow or redirect water to help protect against erosion and reduce the risk of property damage. Lisa Patton is the volunteer coordinator for CUSP. Patton says the Waldo Canyon burn scar is already suffering.

UPDATE:  The Red Cross Shelter has closed as of 11:23 PM.  Highway 24 has reopened.

Original post:

The Red Cross has opened a shelter in Manitou Springs for those affected by potential flooding tonight, Friday, May 23. It's at the Historic Manitou Congregational Church, 103 Pawnee Ave.

The National Weather Service in Pueblo has issued a flash flood warning until 11:15 tonight for northwestern Pueblo County, northeastern Custer County, Teller County, and western El Paso and eastern Fremont Counties.

Manitou Springs officials are inviting residents to a community forum Saturday to talk about disaster preparation.  KRCC’s Rachel Gonchar has more.
 

Mayor Marc Snyder, Police Chief Joe Ribeiro and City Administrator Jack Benson will deliver progress updates on fire and flood mitigation projects.

Manitou Springs Emergency Fund (MERF) spokesman David Hunting says the city is about to start a bidding process for Williams Canyon and Canon Avenue work, and has made some progress on clean-up progress.

The annual legislative session is typically marked with plenty of partisanship – but this year lawmakers in both parties are working together on flood relief bills. As dozens of natural disaster bills are making their way in the statehouse, some of the more significant policies are stalled.

Colorado Springs officials will talk flash floods along Douglas Creek at a public meeting tonight. KRCC's Eliza Densmore reports.
 

The meeting is expected to provide education and updated information about increased flash flood risk due to the Waldo Canyon burn scar, including the city’s planned response to a flash flood.

Construction on U.S. 24 through Ute Pass started today resulting in lane closures until April. KRCC's Rachel Gonchar reports:

Flood mitigation construction along the eastbound route has all traffic shifted to westbound lanes. The Colorado Department of Transportation says it will stay that way for around two weeks until it’s completed. The traffic will then shift to the eastbound lanes so the work can continue on the other side.

In Colorado, farmers are scrambling to recover from September's historic floods — floods that decimated miles of roadways, cut off entire towns and sent rivers and creeks into areas they'd never been before.

Like Tim Foster's immaculate front yard.

"It was beautiful," he says. "I had four large blue spruces. We had hundred-year-old cottonwoods all along the bank. We had our irrigation and our pumps. It was just gorgeous."

Pueblo County has released a new interactive map showing flood damage for the past year. KRCC’s Eliza Densmore reports. 

The main purpose of the map is to share information with state agencies and FEMA.  

A bipartisan committee of 12 Colorado lawmakers will soon meet to examine the state’s response to September’s devastating Front Range floods.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, is still in Colorado working with counties, including El Paso, to assist with recovery efforts.  So far, the agency has approved more than 38 million dollars in assistance across the counties declared major federal disasters after last month’s devastating floods.  Renee Bafalis is the FEMA Public Information Officer assigned to El Paso County, and she came by the KRCC studios to talk about their efforts.  KRCC's Andrea Chalfin began by asking about the availability of assistance, despite the government shutdown.
 

During a hearing on water issues late last week, state officials said they’ve inspected 70 percent of the oil and gas wells damaged by recent flooding. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

As a government shutdown furloughs thousands of federal employees in Colorado, the state is reaching into its own pocket to ensure that work can continue on some roads and bridges damaged by flooding. Today, Governor John Hickenlooper said the state would pay the salary costs for 120 National Guard engineers, with some reimbursement coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"We want to make sure that we don't lose a single day in trying to get these roads open and getting these communities back together again."

Bente Birkeland

In November, voters in several Front Range communities will consider whether to ban or delay fracking. Many of these same areas are also recovering from September's devastating flooding.

There's renewed attention on the fight over fracking thanks to Colorado's flooding. Recent figures show that 12 spills have polluted the South Platte with 37,000 gallons of oil.

Governor John Hickenlooper told local officials this morning that many of the state highways and roads closed due to recent flooding have reopened. But as Bente Birkeland reports there's still a lot more work to do.

FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Center opens today for residents of El Paso County affected by recent flooding. KRCC’s Martha Perez-Sanz has more.

The Center takes the place of the city’s recovery facility after the federal Major Disaster Declaration was expanded last week to include El Paso County. FEMA spokeswoman Renee Bafalis calls the Center a “one-stop-shop” that aims to help residents with insurance and medical needs, among other concerns. 

El Paso is among the three additional counties added to the federal Major Disaster Declaration after last week’s devastating flooding.  That brings the total number of counties eligible for aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to seven.  

Recent flood waters have left behind plenty of damage, but there is one silver lining. Rains recharged the soil, which the 2012 drought left bone dry. KUNC’s Luke Runyon has more…

While there are still pockets of dry areas in the state, the drought has been almost completely wiped out in the foothills and northeastern plains of Colorado. State climatologist Nolan Doesken says these types of weather extremes happen. Colorado may have been drenched in rain, but Doesken says that can change in a matter of months.

Colorado has a new chief recovery officer to help oversee rebuilding in the wake of massive floods. Governor John Hickenlooper made the announcement on yesterday, saying the goal is to have state and U.S. highways reconnected by December 1st. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.

Update, Sat 11:30 AM: ​The boil advisory is now lifted.

Update, Fri 5:15 PM: The boil advisory for Manitou Springs is still in effect, but for certain neighborhoods only. The city says the lower section of Crystal Hills Boulevard and Vias Subdivisions require some follow-up testing, which is expected to be complete tomorrow morning. Other areas, including the downtown business district, are no longer under the boil advisory.

Streets specifically affected by the continuing boil water advisory are:

Days of rain have left Colorado Springs with infrastructure damages that could cost over $10 million.  KRCC’s Martha Perez-Sanz reports that number will likely rise as officials continue to assess the situation.

Colorado Senator Mark Udall pledged to seek full federal support to help restore the state after flood waters devastated parts of the foothills and Front Range. Udall and Senator Michael Bennet both addressed the U.S. Senate yesterday describing efforts on the ground. Bente Birkeland has more from the state capitol.



A Reconnected Lyons Looks Toward Recovery

Sep 17, 2013
Maeve Conran

The town of Lyons in Boulder County is one of the areas hardest hit by recent floods. There is no water, sewage, electricity or gas in the town and most of the bridges that connect the town north and south have been destroyed. The entire population of just over 2000 people has been asked to leave to allow officials to assess damage and begin reconstruction. Maeve Conran spoke with town administrator Victoria Simonsen by the banks of the St. Vrain, which charts a new course through the town.



Oil & Gas Industry, Regulators Scramble in Post-Flood Colorado

Sep 17, 2013
Theresa Gilbert/Weld Air and Water

Weld County in northeastern Colorado, one of the most drilled in the nation, was also among the hardest hit by this week’s historical floodwaters. State regulators and oil and gas industry workers are now scrambling to assess the damage and mitigate the health and environmental impacts.

“At this point – as access continues to be limited and emergency responders remain focused on lives, property and roadways – we have limited information about specific impacts or particular locations,” said Todd Hartman, spokesman for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).

As the remaining flood survivors continue to be airlifted out of towns cut off by flooding, the focus is beginning to shift to recovery. Specifically on the very reason they have to be airlifted: roads.

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