Flooding likely off the Waldo Canyon burn scar #COflood

Waldo Canyon Fire
Waldo Canyon Fire

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

El Paso County can’t do everything it would like to do to prevent flooding from the 2012 Waldo Canyon burn scar. There isn’t enough money.

Rain that is likely to fall on the 18,000-acre burn scar west of Colorado Springs this year will again cause disproportionate flooding because of the lack of vegetation. But the county, in cooperation with the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, Colorado Springs, the Forest Service, Manitou Springs and other agencies has taken some steps to decrease the damage from flooding.

“There is always more that can be done,” John Chavez, stormwater coordinator for El Paso County told the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District Friday.

About $40 million has been spent in fire recovery so far, but there are challenges ahead.

One of those is Williams Canyon above the Cave of the Winds. The canyon just east of Waldo Canyon, where the fire started, is so steep that remediation efforts would be too costly and any water retention could flood caves in the area.

“It’s Swiss cheese,” Chavez said.

Colorado Springs, which began some of its fire remediation projects last year, found they were overwhelmed by the runoff from rains in September.

On top of that, large masses of sediment are still perched on rocky slopes north of U.S. 24 and Upper Fountain Creek.

“The sandy bed hasn’t moved yet,” said Mark Shea, who is coordinating fire remediation for Colorado Springs Utilities. “When it does, that’s going to change the game.”

More Fountain Creek coverage here.

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