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Town Receives Grants For Fall River Restoration

 The Town of Estes Park has received a grant from the Northern Colorado Community Foundation to complete funding for a Fall River corridor master planning process. The $50,000 grant and a previously awarded grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board for $94,000 complete the necessary funding for the master plan. In order to assist property owners with river restoration, the Town of Estes Park has taken a number of steps including applying for and receiving the grants from the Northern Colorado Community Foundation, budgeting $61,000 in 2014 for floodplain needs within the Town of Estes Park, and becoming a Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) sponsor, which funds high risk bank stabilization work identified by NRCS before spring runoff. In response to comments received at the Dec. 9 community meeting on river restoration, the Town of Estes Park is also assisting with the establishment of a Fall River coalition, which will create a forum to bring property owners together and find ways to engage non-resident property owners. A recording of the river restoration community meeting is available at www.estes.org/videos.

Property owners along Fall River and Fish Creek are encouraged to join an email list to receive updates pertinent to river restoration within each corridor. Sign up by updating the subscriber profile at the bottom of any Town emails you already receive, or sign up for the first time at www.facebook.com/townofestesparkco using the “Join our email list” link. Please call 970-577-3721 or email planning@estes.org for more information.

The unique setting of Estes Park makes it particularly vulnerable to heavy rain and runoff events. Since the town sits in a bowl-like valley, all watersheds converge within the populated areas of the valley. The September flood is known to have exceeded a 500-year event, equating to less than a 0.2 percent chance of occurring in any given year. This event drastically changed the former floodplains, and these changes have critical implications for public and building safety. Since the flood, the Town’s Community Development Department and Floodplain Manager have been focused on studying and mapping new floodplains, permitting temporary work for landowners, and long-range planning for floodplain sustainability. There are four mapped floodplains within town boundaries. In order of most affected by the September flood, they are Fish Creek, Fall River, Big Thompson River and Black Canyon Creek.

On Nov. 12 the Town Board passed two ordinances relating to floodplain management. The first ordinance approved the high water marks from the September 2013 flood as the regulatory floodplain for the purpose of permitting landowner work. This is not pertinent to insurance coverage. This ordinance (#13-13) is effective for one year and will be reassessed at that time, or when better data becomes available. The second ordinance (#13-14) amends the Town of Estes Park’s current floodplain regulations to comply with State of Colorado regulations.

For more information on foodplain management post-flood, please contact the Community Development Department at 970-577-3721. Subscribe to receive Town news and/or meeting agendas in your email inbox by emailing townadmin@estes.org. More Town of Estes Park news is available at www.estes.org/news, www.facebook.com/townofestesparkco and www.twitter.com/townofestespark.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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