2012 High Park Fire and 2013 Fort Collins Flood

Report
2012 High Park Fire &
2013 Fort Collins Flood
Insert photo here
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Prepared by:
Jill Oropeza, Watershed Program Manager &
Mark Kempton, P.E., CFM, Stormwater Master
Planning Manager
City of Fort Collins Utilities
The High Park Wildfire
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• June 9th – July 2nd, 2012
• 87,000 acres burned
• Mixed severity
Fort Collins
Intake Facility
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Altered Landscape
Photo Credit: Michael Menefee, CNHP
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Wildfires as precursors to floods
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Public Safety
Aquatic Resources
Infrastructure
Water
Quality
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Personal
Property
Emerging Best Practices
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NRCS - Emergency Watershed Protection
(EWP) Program
• Natural Resources
Conservation Service (NRCS)
• City of Fort Collins
• City of Greeley
• Larimer County
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Early warning systems help avoid impacts
Water Treatment
Operators
Operators,
Watershed
& Lab Staff
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Distributed Rain Gauge Network:
Where are storms happening?
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Use of Social Media to spread
information & alerts
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Build Coalitions
Benefits:
• Leverages existing
programs and funding
• Non-Profit 501c3
• Board of Directors consists of local water
utilities, county, non-profits, academic
institutions
• Focus on post-fire restoration, then forest
health management
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• Holistic approach to
watershed planning and
management
• Well received by public;
not political or
governmental agency
Foster collaboration
between Utilities and
research community
• Train staff to be familiar with wildfire & flooding issues
and potential impacts on infrastructure & processes
• Articulate needs to scientific community
• Track and understand research that is happening in
your watershed
• Share information - Community Forum
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Future Needs to
Increase Resiliency
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Coordinated planning & funding
for pre-fire forest management
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Barriers to effective
risk mitigation!
• Patchwork of land
ownership
• Differing abilities to
implement projects
based on:
– available resources
– regulatory
requirements
– management
philosophies
Develop and enhance prioritization tools for
pre-fire mitigation & post-fire restoration
- Where to focus $$?
- What are best methods
for restoration?
- For maintaining
watershed health?
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Secure funding for post-fire response:
NRCS – Emergency Watershed Protection
• Enables local entities to begin reducing post-fire
hazards associated with flooding and debris flows that
impact private lands
• Funding was not secured until 8 months after HPF,
after much negotiation and uncertainty in the US
House and Senate
• A strong federal commitment will help communities
respond and recover from disasters by acquiring
adequate EWP funding in a timely manner
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2013 Fort Collins Flood
• 50-year flood event on
the Cache la Poudre
River
• City sustained approx.
$600k damage – mostly
bank erosion – emerged
relatively unscathed
• Presidentially declared
disaster in Larimer
County
• City declared a state of
emergency
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Poudre River at Prospect Road-- September 13, 2013
Flood Mitigation Techniques
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•
•
•
•
Floodplain Management
Property Acquisition
Master Planning
Capital Projects
Cooperation with local, State, and Federal
partners
• Grant Programs
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1997 Spring Creek Flood
• Greater than 500-year flood event on
Spring Creek
• 5 people died, 200 homes destroyed,
1500 homes damaged
• In response to flood;
 Increased 100-year rainfall depths
 FEMA PDM grant to build several
detention ponds
 New stormwater master plan
 Increased stormwater fees for
capital projects
 Revised floodplain regulations
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Spring Creek at College Avenue
July 1997
Floodplain Management
• Fort Collins floodplain regulations meet or exceed
State and Federal regulations
 Elevate 2 feet above 100-year water surface
 Prohibit residential development and critical
facilities in the floodplain
 FEMA Community Rating System (CRS) – rating of
4 – in top 5% of communities in the nation
 New development – detain runoff to 2 year-event
pre-development condition
• Effective floodplain management can be politically
difficult
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Floodplain Mitigation
Minimal Structural Damage
•
Construction requirement = 2.0 ft above 100-year
water surface elevation
– Orthopedic Center of the Rockies
– Neenan Construction
– In-Situ Building
Dry building entrance
High water mark
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Property Acquisition
• Willing Buyer – Willing Seller
Program – purchase flood prone
properties
• Utilize FEMA and HUD Grant
funds to acquire properties
• 67% of 100-year Poudre River
Floodplain is City-owned Natural
Areas
• Natural Areas
 allow for natural floodplain
functions
 public amenity
 prevent development in the
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Poudre River at Salyer Natural AreaSeptember 13, 2013
Cooperation with partners
• Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan – partner with
Larimer County and Loveland, Estes Park,
Wellington, and Berthoud
• State and FEMA funding pay for the plan
• FEMA (HMGP) and HUD (CDBG) grant programs
to fund hazard mitigation projects
• State of Colorado - OEM and CWCB very
proactive in assisting with identifying and
mitigating hazards
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Potential Obstacles
• Federal, State, and local permits
 Section 404 of the Clean Water Act
 FEMA floodplain revisions
 State Historic Preservation Office
 Colorado Department of Public Health and
Environment – Dewatering permit
 Local environmental and floodplain regulations
• Funding – stormwater fees average $16 per
household
• $150 million backlog in Stormwater projects
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Lessons learned/Recommendations
• Mitigation pays – stormwater
capital projects worked as
designed to prevent damage and
loss of life
• Floodplain maps do not reflect
erosion hazards – rivers can and
will change course in a flood event
• Future condition flows in floodplain
mapping – FEMA decision
• All hazards mapping
• Continuously update maps
• Public education regarding hazards
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Constructed spill
FEMA mapped
flood hazard area
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