Pleasant Valley flood issues focus of April 11 confab

       Flood risk in Pleasant Valley will be the subject of a meeting hosted by the City Office of Emergency Management Thursday, April 11 from 6 to 8 p.m.

In addition to debris racks upstream, a Navigators flood-mitigation project is to enlarge the Camp Creek channel in front of the castle at Glen Eyrie. Work is due for completion by the end of April. Top soil will be placed over the blocks and reseeded.
Courtesy of Tim Mitros

       The location will be the Great Hall at Glen Eyrie, 3820 N. 30th St. (Ask for directions at the entry gate.)
       Speakers from several related entities will give presentations in the first part of the meeting, after which people can ask them one-on-one questions, a city press release states.
       Those on hand are to include representatives of Emergency Management, the City Fire Department, City Police Department, flood insurance, US Forest Service and Colorado Springs Stormwater. Also expected are meteorologists from TV channels and the National Weather Service.
       “The meeting will provide education and updated information with regard to the increased flood risk following damage to vegetation in the Waldo Canyon burn scar,” the press release adds.
       The get-together is one of five evening meetings scheduled this month about potential area flooding, although it will be the only one specifically about Camp Creek. Others will be April 8 in Green Mountain Falls, April 9 in Cascade and April 15 and 24 in Manitou Springs. For more information, call 385-5248.
       Starting in the mountains north of the city and passing through the burn area, Camp Creek comes down through Queen's Canyon, past Glen Eyrie (the restored castle/home of Colorado Springs founder William Palmer), the Garden of the Gods and Rock Ledge Ranch, then goes into a concrete-lined channel paralleling 31st Street through the Pleasant Valley neighborhood before entering an underground culvert at Echo Lane and finally spilling into Fountain Creek.
       Ryan Tefertiller, president of the Pleasant Valley Neighborhood Association, said he anticipates a strong meeting turnout from his area. “I hope to learn more about what the city has already done to reduce the neighborhood's flood risk and what more can be done in the coming months and even years,” he says in an e-mail. “I think many of our members have short-term concerns about this summer or next, but also long-term hopes that the creek can be improved in a way to manage major flood flows.

The Navigators' recently completed lower debris rack, located a few hundred feet upstream from the castle, spans Queen's Canyon. It is 80 feet wide and 30 feet high above Camp Creek. The rack's network of interlocking wire rings is intended to catch large objects that could wash downstream in a flood.
Courtesy of Tim Mitros

       “I also hope to learn about emergency response plans should a flood affect our neighborhood. Some of our members have pointed out that should 31st Street 'wash out,' the majority of our neighborhood would be inaccessible - you can't get in or out unless you cross the creek. I'm curious about how that could be addressed. I do expect a good turnout; I'm sure that just about anyone living along 31st (and a block on either side) would benefit from the meeting.”
       Tim Mitros, city stormwater engineering manager, will be one of the speakers. “We're trying to put information together that will benefit the residents,” he said. “Because of the burn areas, there could be twice as much flow [in a rainfall].”
       Adding to the concern is the “undersized” 31st Street channel, he said. “When it was designed in the 1950s, as far as we can tell, it was for a 50-year storm. Now channels like that are designed for 100 years.”
       For a decade or more, city engineers have targeted the channel through Pleasant Valley for a major upgrade, but no funding has been allocated as yet.
       There was a project this spring upstream. The Navigators, a nonprofit organization that owns Glen Eyrie, built two large “debris racks” spanning Queen's Canyon that are meant to stop large objects such as boulders or uprooted trees.

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