Resilient St. Vrain Project Update and United States Army Corp of Engineers 205 Program Project Update

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.

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100-year flood plain map for Longmont, CO showing the current and new floodplain as well as the anticipated floodplain following completion of the Resilient St. Vrain flood mitigation work.

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.

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Proposed timeline and workplan for the Resilient St. Vrain flood mitigation project by sections of the city.

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.

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Talking Points for comments on St. Vrain Development

Our over-reaching concern is keeping the St. Vrain Creek corridor as natural as possible and we’re concerned that economic development will trump wildlife, ecosystem, and public health and safety. If you’re in agreement, please submit comments to the City including the following points:

General comments:

+ Biological surveys & studies are needed to identify habitat and species along the creek corridor and to designate sensitive areas for habitat and species protection. We need data/science including expert professional opinions in order to plan well.

Specific to the Blueprint Plan for Development:  All development in Longmont is required to be based on the 3-legged stool (Environment, Social, and Economic) criteria.  The Blueprint is  primarily an economic plan.

+The City is updating our Land Use Code, which won’t be ready for City Council until 2018. The blueprint could require major revisions, so what’s the rush with bringing it forward now for City Council consideration on Sept. 26, 2017???

+This plan is premature—the City does not currently have flood mitigation plans finalized for west of the railroad crossing (east of Sunset/Isaak Walton) nor who will pay for this…

+Building in the flood plain (even with mitigation) is unwise.  There have been 11 flood events in this corridor in the last 100 years.  It’s logical there will be another flood in our lifetime.

+The Longmont Comprehensive Plan needs to be revised to reflect post-2013 flood realities relative to this corridor. To do otherwise puts people & property in harm’s way & puts taxpayers on-the-hook in terms of $$ for recovery.

+The City must hold firm to the 150-foot riparian setback as designated in the City’s Land Development Standards for any and all proposed new OR re-development along creek. Especially essential is not allowing developers to be granted the variances they are certain to request.

 +We must preserve St. Vrain Creek as a wildlife movement corridor and as a natural area by not allowing lighting along the path (wildlife moves at night) & limiting noise (i.e. Lefthand Brewery’s designs to expand with decks, more music etc.).

+We must preserve as many mature trees as is possible for creek health (cooling).  Riparian and aquatic habitat including several rare and native fish in our creek have been identified by CPW as having “immense conservation value to the State of Colorado.”

+Development along our St. Vrain corridor is a HUGE game changer for the residents of Longmont.  Therefore, much more public participation is needed.  Perhaps a vote of the people is in order??

 

 

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