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Funding for 2 major Camp Creek flood-control projects - work to start this year

In a photo taken during a high-water period in May 2015, Camp Creek is seen flowing out of the private Glen Eyrie property into the city's temporary, overly full sediment pond just to the south (at the north end of the Garden of the Gods). Heavy rains in April and May 2015 overwhelmed the pond with upstream sediment. The new detention pond will be built in about the same spot, but will be considerably deeper and wider.
Westside Pioneer file photo
Two major projects to relieve flooding problems along Camp Creek have received funding, and construction on them is planned to start this year.
       One will be a stormwater detention pond on the creek at the north end of the Garden of the Gods, and the other will rework the creek channel, mainly in the roughly three-quarter mile stretch between the pond and Gateway Road.
       The projects are among 9 on the Westside and more than 40 citywide that are in the recently released 2016 stormwater schedule, based on general city information and a follow-up interview with Richard Mulledy, the city stormwater manager.
       A city interactive map online - at coloradosprings.gov/stormwaterprojects - also shows projects for later years (through 2035), with exact dates being determined.
A map that was used for the Camp Creek flood control study two years ago shows how the creek flows out of the mountains and through the Garden of the Gods and Pleasant Valley en route to Fountain Creek.
Courtesy of Colorado Springs Engineering
Mulledy cautioned that some flexibility is needed, even for 2016, because of the constant potential of new flooding issues.
       Taking up about 17 acres, the pond especially “is a big deal,” he said. With the capacity to temporarily hold back up to 175 acre feet of stormwater, “it will take many, many people out of the flood plain.”
       The Environmental Assessment for the project elaborates that the pond “would reduce the peak outflow rate in the 100-year event to less than half of the inflow rate, thus greatly reducing the size of the floodplain though the Pleasant Valley neighborhood.”
       The pond will replace a temporary sediment pond of only about 1 acre that filled up rapidly during heavy spring rains a year ago.
       The city term for the channel work is “stabilization.” Mulledy said the project will include the placement of large boulders for drop structures that will slow the creek flow. The channel itself, gouged by higher than normal flows since the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire denuded upstream vegetation, will be “regraded to its natural sinuousity,” he explained.
       The channel work is slated to start around July, while groundbreaking on the pond is not likely until October, Mulledy estimated. Both jobs will be contracted out and require heavy equipment.
       A Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant will pay 75 percent ($5.9 million) of the estimated $7.8 million cost for the pond. The balance will be covered by the state and the city, each accounting for 12.5 percent ($984,000).
       Ninety percent of the $1.06 million stream stabilization cost is being funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service
In a photo taken around the same time (May 2015) as the one at the top of this page, a flood-safety sign pokes forlornly above flood waters in the area of the overburdened city sediment pond on Camp Creek.
Westside Pioneer file photo
(NRCS) through its Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP). The other 10 percent is coming from the city, Mulledy said.
       Both Camp Creek projects were identified as part of a study that included public meetings in 2013 and 2014. Work to naturalize the concrete-lined channel through the Pleasant Valley neighborhood - also recommended in the creek study - is not yet scheduled, but a portion of such work could start by 2018, Mulledy said.
       The stormwater project list came together in part through negotiations involving the city, Colorado Springs Utilities (an enterprise the city owns) and Pueblo County. The negotiations stemmed from Pueblo aggravations about Fountain Creek flooding allegedly worsened by Colorado Springs' lack of preventive measures.
       As a result of the negotiations, 71 projects over the next 20 years are formally prioritized in an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) signed by those three entities. The IGA additionally commits the city and Springs Utilities “to spend $460 million for stormwater infrastructure, maintenance/operations, and education programs over the next two decades (contingent on annual appropriations) to improve the city's stormwater system,” a city press release states. “Included in the $460 million is funding to leverage money towards additional grant projects and to address neighborhood and local stormwater projects.”
       The only 2016 IGA project on the Westside is at the King Street detention pond. This will be a $250,000 follow-up to a $100,000 maintenance-related upgrade in 2014. The work will involve building a new outlet structure and retrofitting the facility to modern water-quality standards, city information shows.
       A city website with an interactive feature provides information on all the planned projects; however, Mulledy conceded that sifting through the site might be puzzling to some. The 2016 projects can be found under three separate tabs, but the IGA tab includes an item titled “emergency stormwater projects” - referring to projects under the tab titled “Community & Local Projects.”
       The third tab, Capital & Grant Projects, lists those for which the city is getting grant assistance. This is the category that the two Camp Creek jobs are under.
       In addition to those two and King Street, there are six Westside projects scheduled to at least start this year, according to the website (budgeted costs in parentheses):
       - South Douglas Creek channel ($572,133) - stream stabilization.
       - 31st Street channel ($35,047) -repairs and rehabilitation on the concrete channel through Pleasant Valley.
       - Busch Avenue (no cost estimate) - mitigation of local drainage issue between Pine and Pecan streets.
       - Spectra Drive and Pecan Street (no cost estimate) - sediment collection problem.
       - Bear Creek ($144,251) - reconstruction of a failed drop-structure, embankment repair and stabilization east of Eighth Street, by the Wal-Mart.
       - 20 and 22 South Chestnut Street (no cost estimate) - Add steel grate to culvert.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 5/26/16; Projects: Flood Control)

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