Fremont County flood mitigation work completed

Arkansas River Basin — Graphic via the Colorado Geological Survey

From The Canon City Daily Record (Carie Canterbury):

The significant damage caused by the July 24, 2018 flooding in western Fremont County has been cleaned up and mitigation work has been done in case such an event ever happens again.

The force of the water from Butter Creek and Dinkle Ditch/Cottonwood Creek met during the heavy rainstorm, blowing out a stream channel and forcing its way through structures. Debris, trees and rocks washed through the Gillespie family’s hayfield, cutting a gulley and leaving behind a huge mess.

Crews this year cleaned the gulley and reshaped, lined and stabilized the channel.

“The water that overflows out of Little Cottonwood – if we do get a significant flow – it should come out, go right down this channel and safely make its way down to Big Cottonwood Creek,” said Greg Langer, the district conservationist with Natural Resources Conservation Service…

About $1.5 million was spent on restoration and mitigation between the two properties, Commissioner Dwayne McFall said.

Natural Resources Conservation Service funded the design of the stream bank stabilization project, which was designed for a 10-year flood event.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection recovery project in the Big Cottonwood area in Coaldale officially started in early Spring and was completed in July. It required a number of agencies, property owners and experts working together to get the job done.

The project was sponsored by Fremont County with matching funds in the amount of $453,850 from the Colorado Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management as a grant match.

The Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative and the Upper Arkansas River Conservancy District also garnered a grant for more than $250,000 from the Colorado Water Conservation Board for the cleanup effort. Additionally, Chelesy Nutter, the executive director of the Arkansas River Watershed Collaboration, partnered with the Colorado Workforce Center who provided labor to remove 120 cubic yards of debris and cut fallen trees.

Luke Javernick of River Science did all of the hydrology work and brought Canon City High School students to do water quality testing. They will continue monitoring for three years, Nutter said. The Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Trout Unlimited also will be working to explore longterm recovery. Fremont County provided in-kind services with staff time…

Fremont County Manager Sunny Bryant said the last time there was a flood, not only were the properties damaged, but U.S. 50 was threatened and County Road 39 nearly was washed out.

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