Colorado Springs City Council okays funds for Fountain Creek District

Colorado Springs circa 1910 via GhostDepot.com
Colorado Springs circa 1910 via GhostDepot.com

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Billie Stanton Anleu):

A City Council resolution approved Tuesday lets Mayor John Suthers start funneling city money to the Fountain Creek Watershed, Flood Control and Greenway District.

“It’s a big deal,” says district Executive Director Larry Small.

It’s a big deal because farmers and ranchers along Fountain Creek lose farmland with every storm. The Air Force Academy is being inundated, too.

Without stormwater mitigation upstream, a 100-year storm could overtop east Pueblo levees and flood neighborhoods there.

Downstream, the Arkansas Valley suffers when Fountain Creek flows too high, such as the 20,000 cubic feet per second it reached on June 15, and Pueblo Reservoir stops releasing water. Then Fountain Creek gushes into the Arkansas River.

Colorado Springs is the watershed’s biggest city with the most impervious area.

“So it generates a huge amount of runoff,” Small said. “Then when you have fire in Black Forest and Waldo Canyon – a two-year storm in that area is equivalent to a 100-year storm – it’s just creating huge flows in that creek.”[…]

The City of Colorado Springs will provide $150,000 toward creating a flood restoration master plan for Monument Creek, the third and last tributary in the watershed without such a plan.

Cheyenne and Upper Fountain creeks’ plans are done. But Monument Creek is the biggest part of the Fountain Creek Watershed and has the most tributaries.

Its plan, like the others, will prioritize projects, identify conceptual designs and estimate budgets.

“The next step will be finding a way to implement those projects and getting funding for those projects,” Small said.

That work is expected to restore the watershed after 2013 floods associated with the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires, as well as the May rains and high flows on June 15.

The flood district has built a coalition of El Paso and Teller counties, multiple cities, the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, Colorado Springs Utilities and the Air Force Academy, all working to obtain state grants to remedy the fire- and flood-caused damage.

In addition to the $150,000 Colorado Springs now can provide to match a $300,000 state grant, for example, the Monument Creek restoration plan will get $50,000 each from El Paso County, the Air Force Academy and Colorado Springs Utilities.

“I hope the relationships are going to get better between Pueblo and Colorado Springs with the initiatives John Suthers has proposed,” Small said.

That appears to be happening already. Pueblo threatened to sue Colorado Springs but rescinded that threat after repeated visits by the mayor and Council President Merv Bennett.

“We’re in negotiations with Pueblo County commissioners as to putting together an intergovernmental agreement that puts some teeth into this so they have confidence we’ll follow through with it,” he said.

Suthers has vowed that $19 million a year will be spent on stormwater problems: $8 million from retiring bonds in the Springs Community Improvement Program, $3 million from Colorado Springs Utilities and $8 million he says he’ll squeeze out of city coffers.

“The problem is, as you’ve seen, there’s about $500 million of need. So $20 million a year – you can do the math and see how many years it would take,” Small said.

Colorado Springs Utilities agreed in 2009 to spend $50 million on waterway improvement projects, $75 million to upgrade its own wastewater or water-reuse systems and $2 million to dredge the creek at Pueblo’s levees.

Those promises were made in conjunction with getting a 1041 permit from Pueblo County to build the Southern Delivery System to pump water from Pueblo Reservoir to residents of Colorado Springs, Fountain, Security and Pueblo West.

The $50 million comes when SDS starts operating in 2016. But $50 million “is just a drop in the bucket for taking care of the corridor from Colorado Springs to the Arkansas.”

Nonetheless, said Councilman Don Knight, “Any progress is a move in the right direction. … We’re all moving in the same direction. We don’t have a stormwater task force and mayor with different solutions. We realize we have to come together with one solution.”

More Fountain Creek coverage here.

The Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District meeting recap

Fountain Creek erosion via The Pueblo Chieftain
Fountain Creek erosion via The Pueblo Chieftain

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

It may be time to pass the hat again for the district trying to fix Fountain Creek.

The Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District Friday looked again at a dismal funding picture or a model for government austerity, depending on point of view.

The discussion came up as Cole Emmons, El Paso County’s assistant attorney, reviewed the formation and operation of the district for new board members. One key point was the district’s reliance on member governments to get things done. For example, Emmons’ time are legal fees donated by El Paso County.

But even in this administrative barter system, real cash is sometimes needed.

In 2013, a plan to collect $50,000 by Executive Director Larry Small worked fairly well. The largest members of the district — El Paso and Pueblo counties, Colorado Springs and Pueblo — each contributed $10,000. Fountain, a mid-sized city, chipped in $5,000. Four smaller incorporated communities in El Paso County contributed $1,400 of the $5,000 expected from them.

Prior to that, the district had been on life support under a master corridor agreement jointly funded by Colorado Springs and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District.

“These are anemic funds for the work we have to do,” Pueblo County Commissioner Terry Hart said.

The district is waiting for $50 million from Colorado Springs Utilities to begin arriving once the Southern Delivery System is turned on. But Hart pointed out that money is required to be spent on flood control projects that exclusively benefit Pueblo County.

“The real focus is taking on projects that are larger than the $50 million can fund,” Hart said. “We are in the sixth year, and we are doing the best we can. Sometimes we discount the work we’ve done. It’s been spectacular.”

The district has channeled $1.5 million in grants into Fountain Creek projects in the past two years, as well as cooperating with its members to line up other projects since being formed in 2009. But it has backed off its role in commenting on land-use decisions because it lacks qualified staff to review applications, Small said.

In its first year, the district held hearings on projects that could impact the flood plain of Fountain Creek. Small now reviews applications filed in either county, although most come from El Paso County.
The district could do more.

It has the authority to levy up to 5 mills in property taxes on all residents in El Paso and Pueblo counties, if voters approve the tax. Discussions on a strategy to obtain approval were shelved in 2012 as El Paso County moved toward an unsuccessful attempt to form a regional stormwater authority last year.

“At the last two meetings, we got an earful from landowners on Fountain Creek,” Hart said. “I’d like to take a realistic look at what we should be doing.”

More Fountain Creek coverage here.

“There is not consistent political leadership in Colorado Springs” — Jay Winner

Fountain Creek Watershed
Fountain Creek Watershed

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

In order to ensure stormwater control in Colorado Springs in the future, Colorado Springs Utilities needs to take over the job, or the city will face further legal action over the issue.

“Everything’s in place to do this,” said Jay Winner, general manager of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District. “If this were an enterprise of Utilities, the work would be brought up to speed immediately.” Utilities controls water, sewer, gas and electricity in Colorado Springs.

Winner is suggesting adding stormwater as a fifth utility. The idea has been discussed, but has not had a champion until now.

Attorneys for the Lower Ark are wrapping up the final draft for a federal district court complaint over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act by Colorado Springs. The lawsuit has been contemplated for two years, based on Colorado Springs’ inability to find a permanent stormwater funding source. A filing is expected within 60 days.

Making stormwater a fixture within Utilities might be a way of avoiding the lawsuit, Winner said.
Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and City Council President Merv Bennett on July 6 gave assurances to Pueblo City Council that the city would find ways to fund $18 million in stormwater control activities annually from its general fund.

Winner, who attended that meeting, was not convinced.

“They’re constantly telling us how they are doing these wonderful things,” Winner said. “But their political leaders can be recalled or choose not to run again. There is not consistent political leadership in Colorado Springs. One of the things Utilities is good at is leadership.”

Bennett also has made appeals to the Lower Ark board to hold off on the lawsuit while Colorado Springs gets its house in order. But Winner said there are no actions to back up the rhetoric.

“Merv Bennett turned it over to Colorado Springs staff. I’ve had no meaningful conversations with them in the last six months,” Winner said.

Colorado Springs voters last November turned down a regional stormwater fee concept that sprung from two years of political meetings in El Paso County.

Colorado Springs City Council eliminated its stormwater fee following a 2009 vote on a proposal launched by Doug Bruce, a tax activist who became an El Paso County commissioner and state lawmaker before he was convicted for tax evasion.

Funds totaling about $29.6 million for six Colorado Springs enterprises, and transfers from Utilities to the general fund, were to be phased out over eight years under Issue 300 on the 2009 Colorado Springs ballot. Before the election, council members had talked about making about $3.7 million in cuts annually until the total was reached. After the election, council has opted only to eliminate the stormwater enterprise, which would have generated about $15.4 million in 2010.

“Springs City Council made the wrong decision,” Winner said. “If there’s one thing that Utilities knows how to do, it’s make good decisions.

They would not have made that decision to eliminate the stormwater enterprise.”

Council in August 2010 made the determination that Colorado Springs could keep “surplus payments” from Utilities without violating Issue 300. Those payments have totaled more than $30 million annually since that time, according to a 2014 bond rating statement filed by Utilities.

“Seems like there would already be some funding available for stormwater,” Winner said. “Plus, Utilities has the engineering, equipment and experience to do the sorts of projects that need to be done.”

While council oversees Utilities, future members would be less likely to arbitrarily end stormwater funding, any more than they would remove water, sewer, gas or electric service, he added.

More Fountain Creek coverage here and here.

A look back at Fountain Creek flooding

Fountain Creek
Fountain Creek

Here’s a report from Chris Woodka writing for The Pueblo Chieftain (Click through for the photo gallery):

On June 16, nearly 50 years to the date from its biggest wallop, Fountain Creek jarred Pueblo’s collective memory of just how destructive it can be.

The flood of 1965, which built in intensity from June 14-17, was the largest recorded storm event on Fountain Creek, although it ranks second to the 1921 Arkansas River flood in terms of the destruction it caused. While the response to the Arkansas River flood was almost immediate — levees and a barrier dam were complete within five years — relief for Fountain Creek languished for 24 years, until an $8.6 million levee system was completed in 1989. Even then, it was a half-measure. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1970 said the best protection from Fountain Creek for Pueblo would be a dam.

But then, Fountain Creek returned to its typical state — a meandering trickle in a sandy bed, largely hidden from view by a forest of vegetation. The city of Pueblo slowly removed development from the major flood plain. There were occasional alerts, but Fountain Creek behaved and stayed within its banks.

Until 1999, when a moderate flood nearly took out Pueblo’s Target store and conversations began about how much worse large-scale development in Colorado Springs would make the next flood on Fountain Creek.

Part of the answer to that question arrived this year, when six weeks of wet weather softened the banks and the river — after all, that’s what it became — punch through places it shouldn’t have. Things happen slowly on Fountain Creek, and the call for a dam hasn’t washed away.

Widespread, dangerous

Many Puebloans still remember driving over to Fountain Creek to view the roaring water 50 years ago. The Pueblo Chieftain reported that thousands flocked to high ground east of the “Fountain River” to view the flood. Pueblo police reported traffic problems, but were more concerned about people who did not realize they were in danger zones.

Precipitation was widespread, with heavy rainfall of up to 16 inches over the four days in both the South Platte and Arkansas River basins. No place in the eastern half of the state escaped. Pueblo, Lamar and Trinidad were all in the path of the storms. Up north, Denver, Greeley and Sterling all felt the effects of torrential rains.

Danger accompanied the drama, with 21 deaths statewide attributed to the 1965 floods, most by drowning.
Three who died were from Pueblo, including James Oznowitz, 22, a recent graduate of then-Southern Colorado State College and intern for The Chieftain, whose sports car plunged into Plum Creek between Monument and Castle Rock; Ralph Cooper, 40, whose truck was swept into Plum Creek as well; and Robert V. Reutter, 15, who was electrocuted while he helped clean a flooded feed yard on South La Crosse Avenue a few days after the flood.

Statewide, more than 2,500 homes were destroyed and 250,000 acres of farmland were inundated. The total damage was estimated to be more than $500 million.

Tension remains

Controversy on Fountain Creek, particularly the tension between Pueblo and El Paso counties, never really went away.

A plan to build a dam north of Pueblo failed in the early 1970s because of a lack of funding. The idea was never supported by Colorado Springs, whose officials said there could never be enough water to fill a recreational pool that was part of the benefits package.

Part of the planning for the dam included a commitment by the city of Pueblo to the Army Corps of Engineers to maintain the channel, first negotiated less than a month after the flood in exchange for levee repairs, renewed in 1969 when promise for a dam remained alive and continued forward when new levees were completed in 1989.

A water quality controversy began in the late 1970s and continues to this day. Repeated spills into Fountain Creek from Colorado Springs Utilities sewage treatment plants from 19992005 resulted in state penalties, remedial action and federal lawsuits. Steps to assure water quality were written into the federal contract for the Southern Delivery System in 2010, based on the environmental impact study.

Colorado Springs committed to spending $75 million to fortify its wastewater treatment system to prevent Fountain Creek spills in its 2009 1041 permit for SDS with Pueblo County.

The levee system on Fountain Creek took nearly the entire decade of the 1980s to complete. After it became clear that a dam would not be funded, the levees became Pueblo’s main push for congressional funding. Finally, in 1988 funding was approved.

Not ‘flood proof’

Local officials deemed Pueblo “flood proof” at the 1989 dedication, but by 2006, sedimentation from Fountain Creek flows that had increased fourfold since the 1960s threatened the effectiveness of the levees.

Subsequently, Colorado Springs agreed to dredge the Fountain Creek channel in Pueblo as part of its 1041 commitments for SDS, but later paid Pueblo County $2.2 million instead, at the request of the city of Pueblo, which sought the funds at the time to remove an obstructive railroad bridge.

Politically, the 1999 flood on Fountain Creek brought El Paso, Pueblo and Teller counties together to fix problems on Fountain Creek. Technical meetings continued through 2005, when most of the public officials who created the effort were not fully engaged.

That effort led to the Army Corps’ Fountain Creek Watershed Plan, which set priorities for projects on Fountain Creek. A dam got low scores, in favor of wetlands and bank stabilization projects, many of which proved ineffective in the 2015 flooding.

After a year of tension, the Fountain Creek Vision Task Force was formed in 2006, with Pueblo and El Paso county and municipal officials, along with private landowners.

At the same time, the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District and Colorado Springs collaborated on creating a Fountain Creek Corridor Master Plan, which recommended smaller detentions up and down Fountain Creek.

In 2007, then-U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., introduced the Fountain Creek Crown Jewel Project, which culminated in the introduction of legislation that would include multipurpose dams on Fountain Creek. The legislation failed to advance.

Finally, in 2009, the Colorado Legislature created the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District to fix Fountain Creek. The district is now studying how to protect downstream water rights if a dam or flood detention ponds are built. The district delayed its deliberations on developing property tax funding until El Paso County was able to have a vote on regional stormwater funding in 2014. The vote failed.

Subsequently, Colorado Springs officials have tried to assure Pueblo funding for stormwater control will be secured annually, even though its city council eliminated a stormwater fee in 2009.

The only source of major funding for flood control on the horizon is $50 million paid to the Fountain Creek district over five years once SDS begins delivering water in 2016. The district hopes to use that to leverage other money, but still must complete studies on the best method and location for dams, as well as deal with water rights issues.

After the most recent round of damaging floods, Pueblo and El Paso counties are seeking federal relief to the tune of $15 million, most of that in El Paso County.

Sources for this story included Chieftain archives, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports and U.S. Geological Survey data.

WORST FLOODS

Here is a list of the most intense floods in Pueblo on Fountain Creek:

  • June 17, 1965: 53 city blocks were inundated with water up to 8 feet deep, damaging 370 homes and 59 businesses. Damage estimated at $3.7 million. Peak flow of the flood was estimated at 47,000 cubic feet per second.
  • June 11, 1864: Flow of 45,000 cfs. Waters rose 20-30 feet, sweeping away Colorado City.
  • May 30, 1894: Flow of 40,000 cfs. Five lives lost and $2 million in property damage.
  • May 30, 1935: Flow of 35,000 cfs. Damages in Colorado Springs were $1.8 million, and four people died. In Pueblo, damages were $500,000.
  • June 3-4, 1921: Fountain Creek’s flows were 34,000 cfs, adding to the worst flood in Pueblo history on the Arkansas River, where flows were 110,000 cfs. After the flood, 78 bodies were recovered. More than 500 homes and 100 commercial buildings were destroyed. Damage was more than $10 million.
  • April 30, 1999: Peak flow of 18,900 cfs. A highway bridge at Pinon was swept away by the waters. Pueblo’s Target store was threatened. Damages in Pueblo and El Paso County totaled more than $30 million. Extensive damage in North La Junta as well. By comparison, the most recent flood on Fountain Creek peaked at 13,800 cfs in Pueblo on June 16.
  • Note: Damage amounts listed at the time of floods, not adjusted for current values.

    More Fountain Creek coverage here.

    Eleven Colorado counties get disaster declaration after May rains

    Upper Colorado River Basin precipitation as a percent of normal May 2015
    Upper Colorado River Basin precipitation as a percent of normal May 2015

    From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Ryan Maye Handy):

    President Barack Obama issued a disaster declaration Thursday for 11 Colorado counties that were heavily damaged by more than a month of unprecedented rain this spring.

    The declaration ensures that millions of dollars will reach the counties – including El Paso – but the funds are still several steps away from hitting county coffers, said Randy Welch, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which distributes the money. An initial damage assessment by FEMA determined if counties were eligible for the declaration, but another assessment must be done to identify how much each project will need, Welch said…

    El Paso County had the highest cost of damages, at least $24 million, to include infrastructure damages in the county and cities of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, as well as Colorado Springs Utilities.

    The presidential disaster declaration is the fourth for El Paso County in three years – since 2012 the county has had two wildfires and flooding, all of which were federally declared disasters.

    The declaration opens the doors to millions in federal funding to help the 11 counties pay for repairs. But the FEMA money is not a hand-out, and comes with a match requirement from every entity that takes federal funding. FEMA will pay for 75 percent of a project’s costs, leaving the remaining 25 percent to be picked up by the state or others. During recent disasters, the state often split this 25 percent match with a county, each paying 12.5 percent.

    The money is eligible to repair any damages incurred between May 4 and June 16, a period that brought severe storms, flooding, mudslides and tornadoes to the state. The other counties included in the declaration are Baca, Elbert, Fremont, Logan, Morgan, Pueblo, Saguache, Sedgwick, Washington, and Yuma.

    The money, however, is only for public infrastructure and cannot be used to help private property or individual citizens.

    From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

    President Barack Obama Thursday issued a major disaster declaration for severe weather that occurred from April 16 through June 20 in 11 Colorado counties, including Pueblo.

    Preliminary assessments showed nearly $20 million in damage in the affected counties, but the amount of assistance available could change.

    Gov. John Hickenlooper requested the declaration last week, supported by U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and U.S. Reps. Scott Tipton, Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn, all Colorado Republicans.

    The damage in Pueblo County was assessed at $685,000.

    Other area counties were El Paso, $13.9 million; Fremont, $626,000; Baca, $140,000; and Saguache, $22,000. Other counties were Elbert, Logan, Morgan, Sedgwick, Washington and Yuma.

    Pueblo’s damage occurred mainly along Fountain Creek, including a washout of Overton Road and extensive damage within the city of Pueblo, as well as damage to roads in Beulah.

    From The Denver Post (Anthony Cotton):

    Federal funding is available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, tornadoes, flooding, landslides, and mudslides in the counties of Baca, Elbert, El Paso, Fremont, Logan, Morgan, Pueblo, Saguache, Sedgwick, Washington, and Yuma.

    In requesting the funds, Colorado’s emergency management office said that since 1995, Colorado has had nine major disaster declarations and five emergency declarations. In addition, four declarations, including the Royal Gorge and Black Forest wildfires and the High Park and Waldo Canyon fires, remain open.

    Of the $20 million, El Paso County, which had the Black Forest and Waldo Canyon fires, said its estimated damage from this spring’s weather was almost $14 million.

    Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide, The White House said on Thursday.

    More stormwater coverage here.

    Fountain Creek: “We won’t be able to get in until it gets lower” — Jeff Bailey

    Fountain Creek Watershed
    Fountain Creek Watershed

    From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

    Even though Fountain Creek has settled down a bit, flows are going to have to drop a whole lot more before repairs along the channel can be made.

    And money will have to start flowing as well.

    Oh, and other problems from the storm elsewhere in the city need to be addressed.

    This week, flows in Fountain Creek are about 500 cubic feet per second, or about one-fifth of the intensity that ripped away banks and cut new channels in May and June. That’s still above normal, but not supposed to be damaging, according to experts who’ve talked about the situation over the past few years.

    The receding water has revealed more dead trees, new sand bars and new alignments of Fountain Creek within the channel.

    In numerous meetings on Fountain Creek, increased base flows have been presented by experts as somewhat innocuous in the grand scheme of things. It’s the big floods that scoop and scour, they say.

    The problem is, those higher base flows still are creating problems as well as making it difficult to get into the creek even to see what needs to be done, said Jeff Bailey, Pueblo stormwater director.

    “We won’t be able to get in until it gets lower,” Bailey said. “I don’t want to jeopardize our equipment.”

    He explained that the piles of sand that showed up in Fountain Creek could easily collapse under the weight of heavy machinery, and right now there’s no way of knowing how deep the bottom of the channel is.

    The city is most concerned about the bike trail on the northeast corner of the highway bridge at Colorado 47. Fountain Creek continues, even at lower flows, to eat away the bank under the concrete trail. “It’s undermined the area and now the trail is starting to tip,” Bailey said. “We notified CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation) that it’s starting to undercut the riprap on the bridge abutment.”

    A visual inspection of the area by The Pueblo Chieftain Tuesday confirmed that the sidewalk is literally on the brink, about 20 feet above a still-hungry river chopping at the bank. Directly across the creek lies the ravaged bank of a stormwater detention pond where a 10-foot tall, 15-foot wide roadway is gradually disappearing.

    Higher water also will continue to delay the Army Corps of Engineers project to protect railroad tracks near the Interstate 25 interchange at 13th Street. It was started in April, but interrupted by the charging waters.

    The city’s other priority is removing all the trees and logs which piled up against bridges in the city all along Fountain Creek during the continuous flooding.

    “That’s money-oriented,” Bailey said.

    The city did request disaster relief through the state and federal government, but the process takes a while, and the amount uncertain and not guaranteed. Grants for damage from 2013 floods in the South Platte River basin are still being processed two years later, and the latest round of requests by Colorado was made just last week.

    Meanwhile, the city is scrambling to deal with other stormwater problems. There are hundreds of inlets throughout the city’s stormwater system that need to be checked, many of which have become clogged with debris because of recent storms or, in a few cases, negligent construction practices.

    The heavy rains also created more demand for mowing the city’s stormwater basins and ditches. “We don’t have a lot of people, but we do our darndest,” Bailey said. “You have to tackle the biggest fire on your desk and just keep plugging away.”

    More Fountain Creek coverage here.

    Colorado requests disaster declaration for 11 counties due to recent flooding

    Click on a thumbnail graphic to view the May and June 2015 precipitation as a percent of normal for the Upper Colorado River Basin.

    From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

    Pueblo County is in line for a little shelter from the storm.

    Colorado is requesting disaster designation for 11 counties after heavy rainfall and flooding caused extensive damage in May and June.

    Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the declaration Thursday based on initial assessments of about $20 million in damage from the storms. That request goes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will forward it to President Barack Obama for final approval.

    The bulk of damage was reported in El Paso County, which claimed $13.9 million. Pueblo County was assessed at $685,000 in damage, with about $280,000 of that in city limits, according to the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

    “The amount could go up, and it’s not guaranteed,” said Chief Mark Mears of the Pueblo County sheriff’s emergency services bureau.

    The major areas of damage in Pueblo County were Overton Road on Fountain Creek about 10 miles north of Pueblo and North Creek Road in Beulah. Funds for those projects could also come through a federal highway fund, Mears said.

    Damage assessments in other Southeastern Colorado counties were Fremont, $626,000; Baca, $140,000; and Saguache, $22,000. Other counties were Elbert, Logan, Morgan, Sedgwick and Yuma.

    The money is for debris removal, emergency protective measures and the repair, replacement or restoration of disaster-damaged, publicly owned facilities and infrastructure. Private claims aren’t covered.

    According to state documents submitted to FEMA, Pueblo County reported rainfall on 54 of 70 days from April 20-June 28, with up to 13 inches cumulative at one reporting station.

    County commissioners declared a disaster on May 22, after losing part of Overton Road to Fountain Creek.

    There was also damage to North Creek Road in Beulah.

    The city of Pueblo reported damage to flood control structures and trails along Fountain Creek.

    El Paso County’s request included damage in Manitou and Colorado Springs, as well as in the county.
    In Fremont County, the towns of Coal Creek, Rockvale and Williamsburg also reported damage.

    More stormwater coverage