Deadline looms for fire, flood recovery funding

Special to The Tribune and Courier El Paso County Office of Communications
Posted

A collaborative effort which includes the Board of the El Paso County Commissioners has sent a letter to all members of the Colorado Congressional delegation urging them to support $19.8 million in requested funding for Colorado Emergency Watershed Protection. The Supplemental Appropriation for Disaster Assistance legislation under consideration in the House of Representatives supports recovery for Super Storm Sandy but does not include funding for mitigation efforts in the disastrous Waldo Canyon and High Park wildfires in Colorado.

The letter highlights urgent needs in areas affected by the Waldo Canyon burn scar including:

El Paso County is working with private landowners, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), School District 14 and others to protect the City of Manitou Springs and U.S. 24 West from significant erosion and flooding issues which also threaten lives and property in the Ute Pass areas of Chipita Park and Cascade.

City of Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs Utilities need additional funding to reduce flooding, sedimentation and debris flow impacts on facilities critical to collecting, storing and conveying raw drinking water to approximately 70 percent of city residents.

Additionally, the Navigators and Flying W Ranch need additional funds to protect public and private facilities, including significant historic structures such as Glen Eyrie Castle.

If EWP funding for the Colorado wildfire recovery not included by amendment to Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Assistance the process will become much more difficult and the outcome more uncertain.

In addition to the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners, the Colorado Springs Mayor's Office, Colorado Springs City Council, Regional Business Alliance, Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments, Larimer County Commissioners, City of Greeley, Colorado Springs Utilities, Colorado Counties Inc. and the Colorado Municipal League are all signatories on the letter.