The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), in cooperation with the City of Longmont held a flood risk management study open house on Wednesday, September 18th at the Longmont Museum. During the open house, USACE presented its draft feasibility study to determine the best alternative for their assistance on a stretch of St. Vrain Creek near Izaak Walton Pond Nature Area.
The recommended plan includes a levee on the south side of the pond, channel widening and benching, replacement of the Boston Avenue Bridge, grade control downstream of Sunset Street Bridge, and construction of a stretch of retaining walls.
Email your comments on the report to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, CENWO-PMA-A, ATTN: Tim Goode, 1616 Capitol Avenue, Omaha, NE 68102-4901. Comments must be postmarked or received by Oct. 4, 2019.
This Tuesday (8/20/2018), City Council will hear an update on the status of the Resilient St. Vrain flood mitigation project from City staff and a presentation from the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the 205 program project they’re working on with City staff. The City Council meeting will be held at the Civic Center at 350 Kimbark Street at 7pm. The full agenda for the meeting is available here.
The “205 project” refers to section 205 of the Flood Control Act of 1948, as amended. This section allows the Corps to partner with non-Federal entities to design and construct small flood damage reduction projects not previously authorized by Congress and that are not part of a larger project.
The Corps is looking into whether this authority might be used to complete the portion of the Resilient St. Vrain project that stretches from Boston Avenue to the Fairgrounds Pond at Rogers Grove natural area. If determined feasible, the Corps anticipates completing their design in 2019 and beginning construction in 2020.
One concern regarding this stretch is that, while Stand With Our St. Vrain Creek has been working with the City to conduct wildlife, particularly bird, surveys in the area of Rogers Grove and Golden Ponds, 1-2 years of data collected prior to construction is not much. In addition, the City does not currently have the resources to analyze the data collected. It is imperative that the City analyze wildlife survey data collected to determine what species are present and what habitats they are utilizing before construction begins.
One species known to occur in the area of Rogers Grove along St. Vrain Creek is the Bank Swallow. Bank Swallows are the smallest swallows in Colorado and are considered to be a Boulder County Species of Special Concern because they only nest in a handful of places within the County. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Longmont must work together to determine how to mitigate the impact of construction on this species and its nesting area, including timing construction so that it does not occur during the nesting season.
Stand With Our St. Vrain Creek will be attending the meeting and speaking during Public Invited To Be Heard to ensure that these points are made before City Council and staff as well as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Please consider either attending the meeting and speaking in support of the (bolded) points above or contacting City Council and expressing your support for these points.
According to an interview with former FEMA director Craig Fugate, some of the most populous areas of Colorado, including Boulder County, are likely to see more and worse flooding as a result of the current drought. Fugate points to Fort Collins’ program to buy up land in the flood plain as green space as one way to protect against flood damage to homes and businesses.
The St. Vrain Blueprint (note that the web site for the blueprint is out of date with the last version of the document being from March, 2017) is a plan for economic development along St. Vrain Creek in Longmont. The blueprint has been slated to go before City Council on Tuesday, September 26th at 7:00pm. However, because the Council is currently going through budget discussions, the blueprint presentation may be delayed until the October 3rd or even the October 10th council meeting.
Stand With Our St. Vrain Creek recommends that any development/redevelopment plan not be adopted before plans for flood mitigation via Resilient St. Vrain are finalized, including where monies to complete the unfunded stretches of the river corridor will be acquired. It just does not make sense to think about the future of development along the river corridor when it’s still uncertain what the corridor will look like following construction and when other documents that should be taken into account, such as the Wildlife Management Plan, haven’t yet been completed.
Stay tuned regarding when the Blueprint will be brought before the council and please consider attending to show your support for balancing economic interests against wildlife and health and human safety concerns.