September flooding erosion creates new stream channels #COflood

New Saint Vrain River channel after the September 2013 floods -- photo via the Longmont Times-Call
New Saint Vrain River channel after the September 2013 floods — photo via the Longmont Times-Call

From NPR (Nathan Heffel):

Bob Crifasi, a consultant with the Left Hand Ditch Co., says workers are trying to reconnect the creek to its original course.

The raging floodwaters forced Left Hand Creek away from the company’s diversion structures and canals, which supplied irrigation water for farmers who were miles away. Crifasi says those structures are now clogged with mud, debris and stagnant water.

All this rechanneling work comes with a cost. For Left Hand Ditch Co. alone, it could cost more than $3 million. Crifasi says there’s little financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“They’re not stepping up, or they do not have the authority to provide resources for moving the creek,” he says…

Kevin Houck, the chief of flood protection for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which oversees water use and management issues across the state, says the Army Corps of Engineers doesn’t necessarily have funds to help out in this case.

And it certainly doesn’t have “the authority to just come in and make wholesale changes without private property approval,” he says.

“I think that is a misconception that is out there in a lot of places, which is [that] the state or the federal government are going to come in and fix everything here,” he says. “And for the most part, that’s not really going to be the case.”

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