Sunday, August 18, 2013


The Waldo Canyon fire may have been over a year ago, but the remnants of last year remain and continue to threaten our community. The recent flash flood events in Manitou Springs and up Ute Pass are enough to demonstrate that we're not out of danger related to post-fire impacts. And, I consistently am asked as I meet with folks what's being done to help prevent the flash flooding that destroyed homes and businesses and created an unsafe situation for motorists up Highway 24 west, resulting in the untimely death of one Teller County resident. So I want to share with you, some of the emergency watershed projects that are taking place up above the City of Manitou Springs and the downhill communities of Cascade and Chipita Park, both located in unincorporated areas of El Paso County.

  Recently, I participated in a media tour of the work that continues in the upper watersheds of the Waldo Canyon fire burn scar.  We were able to provide information on detention basins, mulching, and hillside stabilization projects that help protect the lower parts of the canyons as Mother Nature heals herself through regrowth of vegetation.  The group was able to visit a series of detention basins being constructed in the canyons that slow the water down and spread it out; lessening the destruction downstream.  Estimates indicate these basins kept over 11,900 tons of debris from entering the lower parts of the canyons in the past week.  As with any large issue, this effort takes cooperation.  And we have plenty of that in El Paso and Teller Counties.  There has been a huge collective effort since the fire that involves private partners, non-profit groups, and City, County, State and Federal governmental agencies.  Together, our Waldo Canyon Fire Regional
Recovery Group (WCRRG) has garnered over $30 million of combined funding that is being utilized this year.   It is a big job that will continue for many years.  We are all in this together, and are in it for the “long haul”.   While we can’t be certain how much rain will fall and where, we can be absolutely assured that we will work together to continue to move forward.

Here are some useful Links from the media tour. In addition, I'll be working to update you on being prepared for flooding, flood clean up and more about what's being done by various entities to protect our downhill communities by reducing sediment and flows from the burn scar damage resulting from the Waldo Canyon Fire which took place in 2012.