Pueblo County: $6 million Fountain Creek levee dough before commissioners tonight

The Fountain Creek Watershed is located along the central front range of Colorado. It is a 927-square mile watershed that drains south into the Arkansas River at Pueblo. The watershed is bordered by the Palmer Divide to the north, Pikes Peak to the west, and a minor divide 20 miles east of Colorado Springs. Map via the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District.
The Fountain Creek Watershed is located along the central front range of Colorado. It is a 927-square mile watershed that drains south into the Arkansas River at Pueblo. The watershed is bordered by the Palmer Divide to the north, Pikes Peak to the west, and a minor divide 20 miles east of Colorado Springs. Map via the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District.

Update: The commissioners approved the project according to Anthony A. Mestas writing for The Pueblo Chieftain:

The deal is one piece of an intergovernmental agreement between Pueblo County, the city of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities.

Utilities agreed to provide up to $3 million as matching funds to repair or improve the levee system within Pueblo.

On Monday, the commissioners released funds previously obtained by Pueblo County under the Southern Delivery System 1041 permit to use the monies toward meeting the funding match and the $6 million total.

The commissioners passed the resolution 2-0. Commissioner Sal Pace was excused from the meeting Monday.

“We are pretty thrilled with it. The IGA allowed us to leverage an additional $3 million from Colorado Springs to match $3 million coming from Pueblo to go into this project,” said Commissioner Terry Hart.

Hart said The Lower Arkansas Valley Conservancy District also stepped up to help with debris removal from the creek in the amount of $100,000. The county previously paid $100,000 for the debris removal.

The county is offsetting the city’s three-year obligation of $3 million with $1.6 million, Hart said.

“The city’s obligation over three years is basically the remaining $1.2 million. They (city) stepped to the plate Monday (at a council meeting) and said this will work,” Hart said.

“All of this is designed to see if we can get working as quickly as possible right now that the water is down for the year,” Hart said.

Hart said the project should start within the next few weeks.

“We are hoping to get it done as quickly as possible to protect our town as quickly as possible and then go on to all the other things we are supposed to be doing under the intergovernmental agreement under the 1041 permit,” Hart said.

Hart said the work needs to happen for the safety of citizens and businesses in the event of flooding.

“We all saw the effect when you have a problem with a levee system when it came to (Hurricane) Katrina and what happened in New Orleans,” Hart said.

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Anthony A. Mestas):

The Pueblo County commissioners are scheduled to vote Monday on an agreement with the city of Pueblo and its Stormwater Utility Enterprise that will provide up to $6 million to fund a high-priority project to maintain the integrity of the Fountain Creek levee system.

County officials said as part of an intergovernmental agreement negotiated between Pueblo County, Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities, it was agreed upon by Utilities to provide up to $3 million as matching funds to repair or improve the levee system within Pueblo.

The agreement under consideration by the commissioners today would release funds previously obtained by Pueblo County under the Southern Delivery System 1041 Permit and use the monies toward meeting the funding match and the $6 million total.

President Obama Just Tied #ClimateChange to National Security — Climate Central

World map of significant global climate extreme events in August 2016. August 2016 was another record-breaking month for the globe. (NOAA NCEI)
World map of significant global climate extreme events in August 2016. August 2016 was another record-breaking month for the globe. (NOAA NCEI)

From Climate Central (Brian Kahn):

The White House published a presidential memorandum setting up a timetable for more than 20 federal agencies to come up with a plan to put climate science into action when it comes to national security.

“It’s not a new direction, but it is reinforcing and formalizing a direction in which the U.S. government was already headed,” Sherri Goodman, a fellow at the nonpartisan Wilson Center, said. “That’s how you turn concepts into action in the government. You have to have plans to get agencies to act.”

Accompanying the memo was a report from National Intelligence Council outlining what some of the main climate threats will be to national security in the coming decades.

According to the national security-oriented blog New Security Beat, this the first unclassified report from the U.S. intelligence community that explicitly looks at the impact of climate change on national security. It indicates that climate change is not a distant future problem, but something that requires planning here and now. Specifically, the report said that “the effects resulting from changing trends in extreme weather events suggest that climate-related disruptions are under way.”

Examples of climate disruption are peppered throughout the report from how drought-induced food shortages in Mali led insurgent groups to start a “food for jihad” campaign, to how melting sea ice is raising tensions in the Arctic between Canada, Russia and other countries with a stake in the region.

Climate impacts have the power to destabilize the regions where they occur as well as places thousands of miles away. The Syrian civil war is the most notable example. Research has tied its start, in part, to a climate change-fueled drought that has sparked the greatest refugee crisis since World War II, according to Goodman. Other researchers were also quick to point out the chain of impacts the drought has had.

“Climate change has contributed to the emergence of civil war, refugee flows and other elements of instability,” Marc Levy, the deputy director of the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, said. “But the follow-on impacts from climate-triggered instability extend worldwide, as seen in the European refugee crisis, which has strong connections to the Syrian conflict, which in turn has strong connections to climate stress.”

Yet the present security concerns could pale in comparison to the future as the climate becomes more unstable. Sea level rise could swamp megacities in developing countries with fewer resources to cope, leading to a massive exodus of people, while water shortages could create more intense conflict, particularly in arid regions.

Even the infrastructure itself that supports the U.S. military faces challenges from climate change. A 2014 government report found that while the military is aware of the risks climate change poses to its 7,600 installations around the world, little action has been taken to address them because there’s been no strong guidance.

The new Presidential Memorandum changes that by laying out a timeline for creating a plan and implementing it.

“The tools available for the military to plan for a more unstable world are woefully inadequate, because we have systematically underinvested in the development of such tools out of a combination of a failure of imagination to do what is needed and a failure of courage to stand up to the political opponents of meaningful climate change,” Levy said. “What is so important about yesterday’s Presidential decision is that it shakes free from those self-imposed shackles so that we can do what is needed.”