Construction Projects Now Underway Help Colorado Flood Victims
Contact: Petra Barnes
NRCS State Public Information Officer
Office Number: 720-544-2808
Fax Number: 720-544-2965
Click here to listen to the Todd Boldt interview with inside the Barn Radio
(NRCS utilizes the EWP Program to Provide Financial and Technical Assistance)
April 17, 2014, Denver, CO– Construction on numerous projects aimed at providing relief and peace of mind to many Coloradoans impacted by the 2013 floods is now underway. Many organizations have partnered with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Colorado’s Office of Emergency Management (COEM) to implement the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program.
EWP is managed and administered by NRCS and is designed to relieve imminent hazard to life and property caused by flood, fires, storms and other natural disasters. John Andrews, NRCS State Engineer and EWP Program Manager in Colorado shares, “The need for EWP assistance in the State is extensive. Within the past two years we’ve seen everything from devastating floods, fires and even dust-storms. The need far exceeds our resources, however those resources are increased when we leverage thru partnerships like the ones formed with organizations like Larimer County, the Town of Estes Park, Boulder County, El Paso County and many others.”
EWP is a federal program that helps groups of people with a common problem. It’s generally not an individual assistance program and requires partnerships with local units of government to serve as sponsors. Entities like the State of Colorado, a County, a Municipality or some legal subdivision of one of those entities are eligible as well as Conservation Districts, Water Conservancy Districts, and Indian Tribes.
NRCS will provide more than $14 million in EWP assistance to help restore flood impacted areas. The recovery measures are designed to be environmentally and economically sound and to reduce the level of risk back to the pre-disaster condition. “As the run-off season begins, it’s critical for landowners to be aware that stream channels will likely behave differently as a result of the 2013 flood. The 2014 spring runoff will likely be greater than normal years,” Andrews further states. “Construction is underway on projects identified as the most critical and that will help mitigate the effects of flood however recovery efforts are still needed in numerous areas therefore flood risk remains.”
After a flood disaster, people and property adjacent to debris filled channels are at an increased risk of flooding from future storms. People and property may also be at risk where the flood caused the channel to move closer to roads, utilities, buildings and other improvements. Construction for the numerous projects funded thru EWP may remove debris and sediment from streams, protect stream banks from further erosion, and repair damaged dikes and levees is slated for completion within spring.
For additional information about the EWP Program, please visit www.co.nrcs.usda.gov.