Brush Town Council reviews new flood plain maps

Brush back in the day. Photo via Vintage Paper Memories.
Brush back in the day. Photo via Vintage Paper Memories.

From the Brush News-Tribune (Katie Collins):

Flood Insurance Rate Map Project (FIRM) Update

One project in particular, the revamped area Floodplain map, topped last Monday night’s session with a presentation from Colorado Water Conservation Board Floodplain Mapping Coordinator Thuy Patton, who gave councilors and visitors an in-depth preview of the new map, its borders and insight into how it could affect insurance rates for many citizens owning property within the city limits.

With the first of such maps being issued as far back as 1977, and the latest revised in 1981, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) made attempts to update those into the digital age and the Colorado Water Conservation Board took over the effort in 2008 to continue to bring those maps into the 21st century and to include the many changes that the Brush area has experienced in the past 35 years.

The new City of Brush Floodplain map will continue to be presented through the City of Brush and the public can feel free to make their voices heard on the redesigned borders during a Tuesday, July 12 public meeting, set to be held in the Morgan County Fairgrounds’ Mark Arndt Events Center, beginning at 4 p.m.

There, officials from the City of Brush, Floodplain Mapping Coordinator Thuy Patton and National Flood Insurance Program Coordinator Stephanie DiBetitto, will be on hand to answer questions, hear concerns and provide an interactive map for folks to plug in their address to see where they land on the new floodplain portions, as well as see how their insurance may be affected. The map, though slated for a 90-day public appeal period following the meeting before possible approval, will not go into effect until June of 2017.

More information on the Floodplain Map changes, as well as an updated map, can be found through the City of Brush online at http://www.brushcolo.com, the Colorado Water Conservation Board website at http://www.cwcb.state.co.us or inside the pages of the Brush News-Tribune and at http://www.brushnewstribune.com.

More coverage from Katie Collins writing for The Brush News Tribune:

Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) began a map modernization program in 2001, a lack of funding ended that initiative in 2008, halfway through the completion of Colorado area maps. In an effort to identify current and more accurate flood risks in the area, the Colorado Water Conservation Board signed up as a partner and in 2009 the program transitioned into the Risk Map Program, the agency took the FEMA maps and expanded them to provide in-depth and up-to-date floodplain risk awareness to community officials and citizens and to provide better assistance in flood mitigation.

“When we began the update, it was mainly an effort to convert from paper to digital offerings for all of Morgan County,” said Thuy Patton, E.I., CFM, who works as a Floodplain Mapping Coordinator for the Colorado Water Conservation Board. “However, when we met with many communities, we found that local flood data was incorrect and the topography was bad.

A map revision analysis was done and we incorporated that into the large scale map update, and distributed those preliminary maps to Morgan County Communities on March 16 of this year,” she continued as she spoke before the Brush City Council on Monday night.

Patton noted that two main items had stood out from that study concerning Brush, including a change in flow rates, which found discharge had been reduced by 30 percent since the 1970s Beaver Creek study, going from 55,200 cubic feet per second to 32,400. The second big change found was that the original study hadn’t included all five structures that cross of the Beaver Creek in and around the city of Brush.

With the newly updated maps now complete, officials from the Colorado Conservation Board are seeking public commentary on the new borders that now include 100-year floodplain limits as well as 500-year areas. Among the many changes to the borders are many surrounding Mill Street, with those north of it possibly due to experience an increase in risk, and those south somewhat of a decrease.

More information on the changes, the map history and on insurance rates and policies that could be affected by the map update will be available to all during a public open house, set to be held on Tuesday, July 12 starting at 4 p.m. at the Morgan County Fairgrounds’ Mark Arndt Events Center in Brush.

There, officials from the National Flood Insurance Program, the Colorado Water Conservation Board, FEMA and local officials will be on hand to help citizens understand the changes and how it may affect them. An interactive map that allows community members to plug in their address online to see where their properties lie within the new map borders will be made available there along with stations that will provide one-on-one assistance for anyone interested.

Following the open house, officials will post two publications in the Brush News-Tribune and Fort Morgan Times, and a 90-day appeal period will follow the second publication, in which anyone concerned can submit a technically based appeal. A period of resolving those issues will follow, should any arise. A date will set in which the map will officially go into effect and during the Monday night meeting, Patton proposed that date will likely lie somewhere in June of 2017.

More information on the updated maps, including links to the 1981 and current maps and to a video of the Monday night presentation, are posted on the City of Brush website at http://www.brushcolo.com and can be obtained by visiting City Hall at 600 Edison Street. Information from the Colorado Water Conservation Board can be found online at http://www.cwcb.state.co.us and on the National Flood Insurance Program at http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart. Updates can also be found by following http://www.brushnewstribune.com.

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