Fire & Flood

Monday, March 30, 2015

City meeting on floods to be held this Wednesday

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 11:23 AM

Flooding since the Waldo Canyon Fire has hit Manitou Springs hard. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Flooding since the Waldo Canyon Fire has hit Manitou Springs hard.

Since the Waldo Canyon Fire devastated the hillsides adjacent to Colorado Springs and greatly increased the chances of flash flooding, the city has been striving to keep the public informed of the dangers.

Thus, it is hosting a series of community meetings as we head into the spring/summer flood season. The meetings are hosted in neighborhoods that are threatened by major watersheds. On Wednesday, the meeting will be held near the Camp Creek watershed, one of the largest to be affected by the fire. Residents in nearby neighborhoods like Pleasant Valley are welcome to attend, but so is anyone else with flood concerns who wants to learn more.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The City of Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management will host a resident preparedness meeting on the recovery of the Waldo Canyon Fire burn scar, and preparedness for natural disaster on Wednesday, April 1 for residents along the Camp Creek area and for the general public.

Camp Creek Flash Flood Preparedness Meeting

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Glen Eyrie Castle

3820 N. 30th Street

Speakers will address key issues relating to flash flood risk in neighborhoods along Camp Creek.


· Analysis of recovery and mitigation efforts on the Waldo Canyon Burn scar

· Weather forecasting and potential flood impact areas

· Mitigation efforts-what can you do?

· Stay Informed-Notification methods for flash flood warnings

· City Disaster Preparedness including planning and responses

The meeting location is wheelchair accessible. Reasonable accommodations for the deaf and hard of hearing through closed captioning or sign language interpreter will be provided upon request. Please notify Vickie O’Brien at or 719-385-5957. The deadline to make the request was Friday, March 27. However, every effort will be made to fulfill requests made after March 27, but they cannot be guaranteed.

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Goodbye snow season, hello flood season

Posted By on Mon, Mar 9, 2015 at 5:36 PM

  • Matthew Schniper

There are those of us who get excited about the holidays, fireplaces, skiing, snowboarding, quilts, and pot roasts. And then there are people like me, who hate winter because it's  cold, wet, ugly and dark.

As you can imagine, I get really excited when spring rolls around. But ever since the Waldo Canyon Fire, I've had to temper my enthusiasm a little bit. Like many of you, I live in an area vulnerable to flooding from burn-scarred hillsides. While several years of good growth on those hills, along with millions of dollars of flood control work, has made a catastrophe less likely, risks remain.

If you too live in a food flood zone, you may want to go to a city meeting to learn more about what to expect. There's one coming up on Wednesday that's tailored to the people who live in the North and South Douglas Creek area.

Read on for more information:

REMINDER: City to host Flash Flood Preparedness Community Meeting March 18

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The City of Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management will host a resident preparedness meeting on the recovery of the Waldo Canyon Fire burn scar, and preparedness for natural disaster on Wednesday, March 18 for residents along North and South Douglas Creeks and the general public.

North and South Douglas Creek Flash Flood Preparedness Meeting
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Front Range Alliance Church
5210 Centennial Blvd.

The meeting will provide education and updated information with regard to the recovery status of the Waldo Canyon burn scar, and the city’s planned response to potential natural disasters. The presentation will also highlight ongoing flood mitigation efforts along areas impacted by the burn scar. Speakers will address key issues relating to flash flood risk in neighborhoods along North and South Douglas Creeks.


· Analysis of recovery and mitigation efforts on the Waldo Canyon Burn scar
· Weather forecasting and potential flood impact areas
· Mitigation efforts-what can you do?
· Stay Informed-Notification methods for flash flood warnings
· City Disaster Preparedness including planning and responses

The meeting location is wheelchair accessible. Reasonable accommodations for the deaf and hard of hearing through closed captioning or sign language interpreter will be provided upon request. Please notify Vickie Rodriguez at or 719-385-5957. Requests should be made by Friday, March 13to assure accommodations can be provided. Every effort will be made to fulfill requests made after March 13, but cannot be guaranteed.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

400 properties will soon be out of the floodplain

Posted By on Wed, Jan 7, 2015 at 1:18 PM

Floods may still be a threat. - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Floods may still be a threat.
The city is working on a plan to reclassify 400 properties so that they are no longer listed in the Federal Emergency Management Agency's floodplain.

The move would have taken place in the coming years anyway, as FEMA is updating its flood maps. But the city is working to expedite the process, meaning it will take just six to nine months. Once the change is official, the properties in question will no longer be required to carry flood insurance, and developing or expanding the properties will be much cheaper and easier. That's important because the city wants to help the Springs Rescue Mission build a homeless day center in the area. The property is currently in the floodplain.

Tim Mitros, city stormwater manager, says the shelter was the impetus for the city's actions. Initially, he says, the city was just hoping to bring Springs Rescue Mission out of the floodplain. But it quickly became clear that it wouldn't be much more trouble to target the entire reach of Fountain Creek from Manitou to the southern corporate limits near Circle Drive. 

Mitros says development in floodplains can be difficult or even impossible. A developer must get a special permit, hire an engineer, and be able to meet strict requirements. Flood insurance, particularly for commercial businesses, can also be prohibitively expensive. He notes that similar actions have been taken for Manitou Springs, as well as areas around Cheyenne Creek and Stratmoor Valley. 

Mitros says that some areas along Fountain Creek will remain in the floodplain — and that likely includes properties that have recently flooded. He feels that properties that are no longer in the floodplain can likely drop their insurance. 

But, he notes, "The risk is always there, let's just put it that way."

That's particularly true because the effects of the Waldo Canyon Fire are not considered in FEMA flood maps. The fire left barren hillsides that allow rainwater to shoot at high speeds into watersheds. That's greatly increased the chance of flooding. On the bright side, though, properties that are not in the floodplain should be able to buy cheaper flood insurance should they wish to carry it.

Here's the rest of the story from the city:

City to redraft FEMA floodplain map to eliminate flood insurance requirements for 400 properties and clear way for homeless day center construction

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The City of Colorado Springs is submitting a Letter of Map Revision (LOMR) to redraft the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplain map that would eliminate flood insurance requirements for 400 properties along the entire reach of Fountain Creek from Manitou to the southern corporate limits near Circle Drive (see attached map of current and proposed FEMA floodplain).

The reclassification of these properties will have a positive impact on redevelopment, including the Springs Rescue Mission. The Springs Rescue Mission owns property on west Las Vegas Street adjacent to Fountain Creek and was planning to expand its campus to serve area homeless with the understanding that FEMA was in the process of a map revision that would take the property out of the floodplain. However, the Springs Rescue Mission discovered that it would take several years for the maps to be officially adopted, making construction more difficult and expensive.

“Floodplain issues were holding up City investment in critical homeless services,” said Aimee Cox, Community Initiatives Manager for the City of Colorado Springs. In an effort to expedite the acceptance of the new mapping and move forward with construction of the day center, City staff convened with the Springs Rescue Mission and Keith Curtis, FEMA Regional Floodplain Manager and identified a strategy for revising the “official” floodplain maps to reduce the process timeline down to 6 to 9 months through a LOMR. This LOMR enables Springs Rescue Mission to move forward with additional land acquisition and planning to build a homeless day center.

“We have been working with the City and community leaders to address the needs for over a year; this is a major breakthrough. We are in the final stages of five-year strategic plan and site master plan that will address the critical service needs of our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness. We appreciate the vision and leadership that the City has taken on this, and we look forward to making this long awaited Resource Center a reality,” says Larry Yonker, President and CEO of Springs Rescue Mission.

In addition to the Fountain Creek LOMR, LOMRs have been completed or are being processed for Manitou Springs, Stratmore [sic] Valley and Cheyenne Creek. In total, more than 1,000 properties will be positively impacted by the proposed map revisions due to the elimination of flood insurance requirements and gaining the ability to redevelop these properties which were not allowed this opportunity while located in a floodplain.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

A walk in the park? Maybe not.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 5:14 PM

North Cheyenne Canon after last year's floods. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • North Cheyenne Canon after last year's floods.

Planning on heading into the great outdoors? You'll probably want to read this first.

The good news is that Federal Emergency Management money is finally being put to use in some of our open space areas to fix flood damage. The bad news is, that means access to some favorite areas will be limited or cut off. Contractors begin their work Dec. 8 and it will continue for 8 to 12 weeks.

Read on for the details:

FEMA flood repair construction projects to begin next week in several Colorado Springs Parks

Colorado Springs, CO – The City of Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services will continue repair work on numerous locations in parks which sustained significant damages during the September 2013 floods.

Contractors will begin the repair projects on December 8 and continue for the next 8-12 weeks (weather dependent). The FEMA flood damage projects will cost approximately $515,000 and are funded through the FEMA Public Assistance grant.

Repairs will include slope stabilization, roadway repair, and drainage improvements to repair the flood damage sites.

Construction will take place in the following locations:

Mount Cutler Trail

The Mount Cutler Trail will be closed during construction work on weekdays and reopen for hikers on weekends only during the project. Alternative trails: the Columbine Trail, Silver Cascade Falls Trail at Helen Hunt Falls, the Chamberlain Trail, and Stratton Open Space.

North Cheyenne Cañon Road in North Cheyenne Cañon Park

Park users may encounter lane closures as contractors repair various sections of the flood-damaged roadway.

Bear Creek Road in Bear Creek Cañon Park

Park users may encounter lane closures as contractors repair various sections of the flood-damaged roadway.

High Drive

Repair work will take place along the entire 3.5 mile stretch of High Drive. The work will include erosion repair, culvert replacement, and overall drainage improvements. Access to the Palmer Trail, Bear Creek Trail (USFS Trail #666) and the Captain Jack’s Trail will remain open to the public. Recreational users on High Drive may encounter construction equipment throughout the project. Dog owners are strongly encouraged to keep their pets are on leash at all times.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fire! Fire! But don't panic.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Smoke makes us anxious. We have our reasons. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Smoke makes us anxious. We have our reasons.

After witnessing the Waldo and Black Forest Fires, I get it.

You see a billow of smoke and you're overcome with panic. That's why I'm here to warn you: You're going to see smoke coming from the mountains in the next few days, probably starting tomorrow, but there's no need to start packing all your belongings or to call the authorities. Th U.S. Forest Service is planning a controlled burn in Teller and Douglas Counties, so they'll be aware of the blaze and monitoring it carefully.

Deep breath.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., October 22, 2014…The U.S. Forest Service, Pike National Forest-Pikes Peak Ranger District is planning a 550-acre prescribed burn in Teller and Douglas Counties. The project may begin as early as Friday, October 24, weather permitting and continue for two days.

Weather and wind conditions may affect the dates for ignition and fire personnel will determine if safe and effective ignition should take place.

The project involves broadcast burning to enhance forest health and reduce hazardous fuels near U.S. Forest Service and private land boundaries. Smoke will be visible during burning operations on the days of ignition and until fuels are consumed.

According to Pikes Peak Ranger Oscar Martinez, “Fire managers are taking precautions to ensure a safe and effective prescribed burn in the Woodland Park area. We realize this will create temporary impacts and appreciate your patience during this very necessary effort to clear the forest of heavy fuels. The last similar burn was done in 2009.”

For more information regarding these projects, please contact the U.S. Forest Service – Pikes Peak Ranger District Office, at 719-636-1602.

Follow us on Twitter @PSICC_NF. Use #TroutCreekRX for information during burning operations.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

Rampart Range Road is open

Posted By on Fri, Oct 10, 2014 at 7:59 PM

"A slurry-bombed van along Rampart Range Road" - BRAD FLORA
  • Brad Flora
  • "A slurry-bombed van along Rampart Range Road"

In my household, this is a cause for celebration: Rampart Range Road, closed since the Waldo Canyon Fire, has reopened.

The dirt road stretches from Garden of Gods Park to Rampart Reservoir and is a very pretty drive, and an even prettier bike ride. Just make sure that you don't go off the road — the burned forest is still off-limits.


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., October 10, 2014…The Pike National Forest - Pikes Peak Ranger District is temporarily opening Forest Service Road (FSR) 300, also known as Rampart Range Road. This popular tourist road is now open between Garden of the Gods and Rampart Reservoir within the Waldo Canyon Burn Area.

Forest Order 2014-16 opens the area to day use only. The public may not camp, have campfires or park outside of designated areas. Forest visitors should refer to maps posted at entry points and within the Waldo Burn Area.

The restricted area includes the National Forest boundary above Garden of the Gods to Sand Gulch (about 2 miles south of Rampart Reservoir). All of the National Forest System lands between the Highway 24 corridor and Rampart Range Road will remain closed to entry. This closure includes Williams and Waldo Canyons and Wellington and Sand Gulches. Also closed to entry is an area around Nichols Reservoir in the upper West Monument Creek drainage (below the Rampart Reservoir dam).

Most of the area east of Rampart Range Road will be open to public use, but camping and campfires will be prohibited. In that same area, parking will be restricted to designated areas. The U.S. Forest Service has installed signs that identify the designated parking locations and these are generally in locations where use of the adjacent National Forest will not result in resource concerns. There are no designated parking locations between the Garden of the Gods park and the National Forest boundary, and then not until above the closed shooting range.
The South Rampart Shooting Range remains closed.

Visitors should use extreme caution and expect to encounter falling dead trees and limbs, steep slopes, stump holes and the potential for flooding in this Burned Area. According to Pikes Peak District Ranger Oscar Martinez, “If you choose to go into the Waldo Canyon area, expect a changed condition. It is not the same forest that many remember prior to the 2012 wildfire. There are many dangers so be very cautious with a plan of escape when the winds increase or it starts to rain. Your safety is our priority.”

The Waldo Canyon Trail along Highway 24 will remain closed. The U.S. Forest Service, Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Department of Transportation all agree that significant public safety concerns exist at this time.

The Waldo Canyon Burn Area Closure Special Order and map are located on the web under “Alerts and Notices”. For additional questions, please call the Pikes Peak District Office at 719-636-1602.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Zombies will chase you for a good cause this Saturday

Posted By on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 5:41 PM

El Paso County is trying to make a point with its second annual Zombie Run, and it isn't just that zombie costumes are a damn fun way to scare the kids.

The county wants citizens to use their still-working brains to put together emergency kits and plans before the Springs' next mini-apocalypse. (Think Waldo, Black Forest, the floods.)

Anyway, we at the Indy would like to formally encourage you to make those plans and kits. They're a really good idea. (Take it from this Manitoid.) We'd also like to encourage you to dress up like a zombie, because zombies are cool. 

Check out the run here:

El Paso County to Hold Second Annual Zombie Run on Saturday
Public Welcome to Watch the Zombie Run and Visit Emergency Preparedness Vendors

El Paso County, CO., Sept. 25, 2014 – El Paso County Parks is hosting the second annual “Be Prepared…Don’t Be A Zombie” Zombie Run on Saturday at Fox Run Regional Park. The event helps showcase the need for all residents to develop their own family and workplace emergency preparedness plans.

A false cancellation message went out on Facebook today for those who ‘liked’ last year’s event listing. Last year’s even listing was deleted because the date from last year was resulting in confusion. Participants, runners and zombies, who signed up for this Saturday’s Zombie Run have been notified by email that the event is still on as scheduled, starting at 10 a.m. this Saturday, September 27.

The Zombie Run is a traditional 5K with minor obstacles (and zombies) and a 3K shortcut for those that want a shorter run. The runners will wear “life flags,” similar to flag football. The fully costumed and made up zombies try to steal the flags from the runners as they move along the trail. Runners who lose flags get a chance to answer emergency preparedness questions to get life flags back. For those who like a little more fun, they can also modify their traditional running apparel to dress as zombies.

“Being prepared for any emergency is important for your family,” said Commissioner Peggy Littleton. “It only takes a little effort to make a plan and to be ready. Even if people don’t want to participate in the run or be a zombie, they are welcome to come out and visit the emergency preparedness vendors and displays that will be set up in the park. This is a great opportunity to purchase items for a 72-hour emergency kit.”

Run Information
Registration: has closed for this event.
Time: The first of multiple heats begins at 10 a.m.
Location: Fox Run Regional Park is at 2110 Stella Drive, Colorado Springs.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Udall checks out Williams Canyon work

Posted By on Mon, Aug 25, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Williams Canyon is getting some big-time flood control structures. - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Williams Canyon is getting some big-time flood control structures.

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall visited Williams Canyon Friday to assess the progress on a $5.4 million flood mitigation project, and to tout his record.

Udall, who is running for reelection against Republican Cory Gardner, was instrumental in getting $65.5 million in Emergency Watershed Protection funds to mitigate the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires in 2012. He also led the push to get federal money following devastating floods statewide in September. 

Udall is currently pushing for permanent funding for the EWP fund, so that money will be available immediately for future disasters. 

The Williams Canyon watershed is responsible for multiple, destructive floods in Manitou Springs since the Waldo Canyon fire. Working in the area has been tricky, because floods have occurred even as work is underway. Nevertheless, the massive project appears to be chugging along.

Here's what Udall had to say at the event to reporters:

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Help state decide where to spend $199 million

Posted By on Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Manitou floods made a mess. - BRADLEY FLORA
  • Bradley Flora
  • Manitou floods made a mess.

If you're anything like me, the biggest financial decisions you make are at the grocery store.


Wouldn't it be a lot more fun to budget, say, $199 million? Well, good news. The state needs help deciding how to allocate an additional $199 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. And it wants your input.

The money is intended to go to communities impacted by the 2013 floods, as well as by wildfires in 2012 and 2013. The funding is for needs not addressed by other federal programs, but could go to many areas, such as housing, infrastructure, economic revitalization, agriculture, planning and watershed restoration.

To give your input, go to the state’s meeting on August 11 at 6 p.m. at Manitou Springs City Hall, 606 Manitou Ave.

You may also submit comments before August 30 by emailing

Happy budgeting.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Woo-hoo, stormwater meetings!

Posted By on Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Drainage: Only interesting when it doesn't work. - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Drainage: Only interesting when it doesn't work.

When it comes to government, it doesn't get much more boring and expensive than infrastructure. And when it comes to infrastructure, it doesn't get much more boring and expensive than drainage.

No wonder the city and county have hundreds of millions of dollars in backlogged stormwater projects. It's just hard to get excited about spending that kind of dough on something that you never really think about — you  know, until your house is washed away by a flood.

Anyway, since the fires, drainage has become an even bigger problem for the Pikes Peak region than it already was, which is saying something. A citizens's task force, put together with help from the El Paso County Commissioners and the Colorado Springs City Council, has come up with an preliminary plan for how to deal with it. They want citizen input before putting the plan on the ballot in November.

(Meanwhile, Mayor Steve Bach is busy promoting his own plan for stormwater.)

That means the task force is hoping that citizens will show up to learn about our drainage systems. No, it probably won't be entertaining. But it is important, and it might be a good idea to learn about this stuff prior to another major disaster. So, brace yourself, drink something caffeinated, and make it to one of the  following meetings:

Stormwater Task Force to hold public input meetings

The Pikes Peak Regional Stormwater Task Force will hold a series of public meetings to gather citizen feedback on its proposal for regional stormwater management.

Tuesday, July 1, 5:30-7 p.m.
Colorado Springs Police Department, 4110 Tutt Blvd., Colorado Springs

Wednesday, July 9, 5:30-7 p.m.
Fountain City Hall, 116 S. Main St., Fountain

Thursday, July 10, 5:30-7 p.m.
Manitou Springs City Hall, 606 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs

Wednesday, July 16, 5:30-7 p.m.
Ivywild School, 1604 S Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs

Wednesday, July 23, 5:30-7 p.m.
East Library, 5550 N Union Blvd., Colorado Springs

“We received great citizen input during our town hall meetings last fall, when numerous options were on the table,” said Dave Munger, Task Force co-chair. “Based on that input and research conducted over the past two years, we’ve drafted a specific proposal, and we want to get citizen feedback on the details. Our goal is to submit the final plan to voters this November.”

About the Stormwater Task Force
The Pikes Peak Regional Stormwater Task Force was formed in August 2012 by the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado Springs Utilities and community members to identify the best solution to the community’s stormwater problems. The group includes business leaders, interested citizens, professional engineers, and city, utility and county staff.

For more information on stormwater in the Pikes Peak region and the work of the Task Force, and to view the draft proposal, visit

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Palmer Red Rock Trail now open

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Earlier today, the City of Colorado Springs put out the following press release, with good news for hikers and bikers. 

The Palmer Red Rock trail has reopened, connecting Red Rock Canyon/Section 16 to Bear Creek Canyon Park. 

Here's the map and full press release. 

Colorado Springs Parks, Recreation & Cultural Services is pleased to announce that the Palmer Red Rock Trail is now reopened to the public, providing an important connection between Red Rock Canyon/Section 16 and Bear Creek Cañon Park. The trail connection has been closed since sustaining damages in the September 2013 floods. Necessary repairs to the Palmer Trail and lower High Drive have been completed and this trail segment is now open.

The opening of the Palmer Trail includes the lower portion of High Drive – from the old caretaker house at the intersection of Bear Creek Rd and Gold Camp Road uphill to the Palmer Trail connection. This section of High Drive is open to non-motorized trail users only.

High Drive above the Palmer Trail to Cheyenne Cañon remains closed to all public access. The closed section of High Drive is gated above the Palmer Trail. The upper portions of High Drive sustained substantial flood damage and have not yet been repaired. The City of Colorado Springs has worked with FEMA to document the damages and secure funding for the repairs. Repair work on the remaining sections of High Drive is anticipated to begin this summer.

All other trails identified within the Bear Creek watershed remain closed to public access in accordance with Pike National Forest Service Order 14-2 Emergency Trail Closure: Closure of Trails in the Bear Creek Watershed. The US Forest Service and Colorado Springs Utilities will assess the current trail condition of other trails in the Bear Creek Watershed to determine the feasibility of reopening additional trails. 

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Old Stage Road to remain closed for repairs

Posted By on Wed, May 21, 2014 at 12:48 PM

  • Ltljltlj

Local outdoor enthusiasts have plenty to gripe about these days.

Both Williams and Waldo Canyon Trails remain closed, as do the Bear Creek and Severy Creek watersheds. There's few signs that any of those areas will be opening soon. Nor is Old Stage Road accessible.

El Paso County wants citizens to know that the road remains closed due to severe flood damage that hasn't been fully mitigated. 

I think I speak for all of us when I say, "Boo."
Old Stage Road to Remain Closed

El Paso County, CO, May 20, 2014 – Old Stage Road is currently closed and will remain closed until all work is completed by both El Paso County and United States Forest Service contractors.

Old Stage Road was severely damaged during the flash flooding in September 2013. Portions of the road were completely washed away. Contractors are rebuilding and repairing the road, replacing culverts and reforming ditches in order to return the gravel mountain road back to safe driving conditions.

Although some sections of Old Stage Road have been repaired, some sections are considered unsafe and still require extensive repairs. El Paso County’s contractor should start mid to late June. Work is expected to be completed this summer, dependent on weather.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Governments preparing citizens for flood season

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Remember this? - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Remember this?

The Pikes Peak Region is gearing up for what could be another damaging flood season.

In the wake of the Black Forest and Waldo Canyon Fires, flood risk is higher than ever. And given the region's below-par stormwater system, flooding should be expected near major watersheds. But that doesn't mean local governments are ignoring the problem. In fact, the city is warning commuters near 31st Street to be aware of construction-related delays as it repairs the Camp Creek drainage ditch:

31st Street Channel Repairs to Impact Traffic Flow, Parking During April

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— People living near or traveling on 31st Street in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood may experience traffic delays during the month of April as repairs are made to the 31st Street drainage channel.

The City of Colorado Springs has retained a contractor to make intermediate repairs to the Camp Creek channel located in the median of 31st Street from West Bijou Street/ Echo Lane north to Chambers Way.

The repair work is expected to begin April 1 and be completed by the end of April. During construction, traffic lanes will be narrowed and on-street parking for portions of the street may be prohibited for periods of time. Full closures of portions of the street may also be needed for relatively short time periods.

The majority of the work will occur south of West Fontanero Street where the badly degraded channel bottom pavement will be capped with a new concrete surface. Other spot repairs of the channel lining north of West Fontanero Street may be accomplished as remaining funds are available from the original $250,000 in allocated funding.

The interim repairs are being made to help the existing channel remain in full service until planning, design, permitting and securing of funding to fully reconstruct the channel is complete. A portion of the Camp Creek watershed was burned in the Waldo Canyon fire. Since the fire, the volume and frequency of stormwater and sediment carried by the Creek have increased. The extended rainfall that occurred in September 2013 resulted in significant damage to the aged concrete lining, increasing the urgency of making repairs to the channel.

The City initiated a community-based planning process for permanent improvements to Camp Creek last fall which is nearing completion. A community open house for review of the recommended drainage improvement plan is scheduled for 5 to 7:30 p.m., April 29 at Coronado High School Cafeteria, 1590 W. Fillmore St.

For more information about the channel repairs, contact Ryan Phipps, City Repair Project Manager, at 385-5069 or Information about the Camp Creek Drainage Improvement Project and community involvement process may be found at
Those who live in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood may also want to attend an upcoming city meeting that will discuss the effects of the Waldo Canyon Fire on flooding, mitigation efforts, and emergency preparedness. Here are the details: 
Camp Creek Flash Flood Preparedness Meeting
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The Castle at Glen Eyrie, 3820 N. 30th Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Meanwhile, Manitou Springs, which has been hit hard by summer floods, is also gearing up. The town is looking for volunteers and also hoping to inform the public on emergency preparedness. Here are some details:
Manitou Springs Emergency Services and Volunteer Recruitment Forum
Sponsored by: The Manitou Springs Recovery Fund

Manitou Springs, CO, Saturday, April 5, 2014, 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM, 515 Manitou Avenue, Manitou Springs, Colorado: The Manitou Springs Recovery Fund is hosting a community wide forum on Flood and Fire Preparedness for the citizens of this community. Updates on progress made in preparation for this year’s potential emergencies will be made by Mayor Marc Snyder, Police Chief Joe Ribeiro and City Administrator Jack Benson. Board members from the Manitou Springs Emergency Recovery Fund will also be sharing information on ways to volunteer and financially help victims of future flood and fire disasters.

Following last year’s flooding through Manitou Springs, citizens have been mobilizing to provide safe and secure ways for neighbors to help neighbors in times of need. The Manitou Springs Emergency Recovery Fund in cooperation with the Pikes Peak Community Foundation has been receiving donations that will provide immediate assistance to future business and residential victims of community wide disasters. MERF is sponsoring this upcoming community in concert with community leaders to keep the public informed and prepared for such future events.
The Red Cross is also unveiling a new smartphone application that gives access to local and real-time information during an emergency and allows users to let loved ones know they're OK. The The El Paso-Teller County 911 Authority is also asking locals to create a new account for  the Emergency Notification System, due to a change of vendor. This is the system that notifies you when a dangerous flood is approaching.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014

City making progress on stormwater goals

Posted By on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 7:21 PM

North Cheyenne Cañon after the September floods. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • North Cheyenne Cañon after the September floods.

The city is chipping away at high-priority stormwater projects in the wake of the Waldo Canyon Fire and last summer's devastating flood season.

Last year, the city said it would dedicate funding to major drainages impacted by the fire. It has since secured more funding and is moving those projects forward. At a press conference Tuesday, Tim Mitros, city engineering development review and stormwater manager, said he's working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to secure funding for more than 50 projects. Others are already in progress or will soon get underway. The city budgeted about $26 million for stormwater this year — more than last year's $20 million.

Mayor Steve Bach has run into controversy over his position on stormwater. He wants to ask voters to renew an expiring tax expiring bonds in order to fund stormwater and other city infrastructure problems. But El Paso County and City Council have been working for years to establish a regional solution to the problem.

Bach said at the press conference that he hopes compromises can be reached, especially in regard to about $12 million in multi-jurisdictional stormwater projects. He plans to meet with the Regional Stormwater Task Force — a citizens' group that is leading the regional charge with the support of the county commissioners and City Council — on Feb. 26. The mayor said he wasn't sure if the meeting would be open to the public.

The city recently issued the following release on some of the progress it's made on key projects:

City to begin emergency stormwater drainage control projects under El Paso County’s Federal Disaster Declaration

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.—Exigent funding has been awarded to the City of Colorado Springs in the amount of $850,860 for emergency repair projects from September 2013 flooding. Funding comes from:

· 75% - National Resource Conservation Service Emergency Watershed Protection funds
· 12.5% - Colorado State Office of Emergency Management
· 12.5% - In-kind or matching funds from the City of Colorado Springs.

Following is information on the four funded stormwater projects. All four projects are currently under design by Matrix Engineering and will be constructed this spring. The City will contract with the Coalition of the Upper South Platte (CUSP) to manage the projects.

· Cheyenne Creek (2-projects) – East of Stratton along Scott Street (project cost $156,500) & Cheyenne Creek at Mayhurst Avenue (project cost $144,360). Two projects will make emergency repairs along Cheyenne Creek. Engineering designs are underway to restore the bank and remove debris from sections of Cheyenne Creek where flooding occurred. A neighborhood meeting is planned for residents.

· Douglas Creek – A cleanable debris basin will be constructed in North Douglas Creek on the Flying W Ranch property to allow the City’s Streets Division to remove the sediment after each storm. The five-debris catchment ponds constructed in 2013 on the Flying W were completely filled (estimate of 60,000 cubic yards) with sediment in September’s storms. A large temporary cleanable pond will be constructed to protect the downstream channel. Project cost $200,000.

· Camp Creek – A large temporary cleanable basin will be constructed in Camp Creek at the north end of Garden of the Gods to collect sediment from the Waldo Canyon burn area. This basin will be cleaned on a regular basis by the City’s Street Division. Project cost $350,000.

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Jerri Marr going to Washington

Posted By on Thu, Feb 20, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Jerri Marr
  • Jerri Marr
The heroine of the Waldo Canyon Fire is leaving town.

Forest Supervisor Jerri Marr has accepted a job in Washington, D.C. Marr became the face of the Waldo Canyon fire, offering comfort and guidance as the deadly fire progressed. 

PUEBLO, Colo., February 20, 2014 – Pike and San Isabel National Forests, Cimarron and Comanche National Grasslands (PSICC) Forest Supervisor Jerri Marr has accepted a new position in Washington, D.C.

Marr will soon become the National Assistant Director for Recreation, Business, Heritage, and Volunteer Resources for the U.S. Forest Service at the National Headquarters. Her reporting date has not been determined.

According to Marr, “I have enjoyed my time here on the PSICC and consider it an honor to have had the opportunity to serve as the Forest Supervisor.”

Marr came to the PSICC in December 2010. 

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