Our group has been meeting once per month since 2013 to provide to coordinate with each other and provide flood recovery updates. Although this meeting is not the forum to discuss individual recovery needs, residents in the affected communities are welcome to attend and hear updates. Today we will be meeting in Loveland. Here is the agenda.
Washington, D.C. – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) announced today that he is introducing the Disaster Assistance Fairness and Accountability Act of 2015. This legislation is designed to protect disaster victims, including Coloradans affected by the 2013 floods, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aid clawbacks.
Under current law, FEMA can go back to disaster victims who have been approved for and received aid and retroactively change its aid determination, demanding that the recipient return the funds. FEMA is currently authorized to conduct these clawbacks without any statute of limitations, and victims could be forced to prove again that they deserved the aid that they applied for and were awarded.
This legislation would prohibit FEMA from clawing back aid to those who filled out accurate reports and had a reasonable expectation of receiving aid. It would treat victims as innocent until proven guilty, requiring FEMA to prove that the applicant had made an error or committed fraud on their application for aid. And it sets a statute of limitations of three years for disaster recoupment.
This legislation is nearly identical to bipartisan language introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative Tom MacArthur (R-NJ).
“Disaster victims have suffered enough,” Gardner said. “Victims don’t need the prospect of the federal government coming back to them, years after they’ve had to rebuild their lives, demanding a return of the aid that had been appropriately granted.
“Nothing in this legislation stops FEMA from recouping money from anyone who has defrauded FEMA and the American taxpayer. We must be extremely diligent in seeking out and prosecuting those who would use a time of crisis for their own personal enrichment.
“This legislation would ensure that disaster victims are treated fairly. Colorado flood victims deserve that. Victims of disasters across this country deserve that. It’s time to make it happen.”
The full text of the legislation can be read here.
Photo credit: Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter III
Big Thompson Watershed Coordinator *Stakeholder-driven river coalition seeking candidate to lead the renewal of one of Colorado’s most important watersheds. The coordinator will help support the creation and implementation of a watershed-wide master plan for flood-affected areas from the September 2013 flooding. Key goals for the project include fire/flood resiliency, improved ecological health, water quality, wildlife habitat and riparian stability.
The Coordinator will work closely with agencies, nonprofit organizations, individual citizens, landowners and other identified stakeholders to implement priority projects, facilitate steering committee meetings, pursue grant opportunities and conduct community outreach.
Salary range is $50K -$65K per year with health benefits. The initial tenure is 18 months with possibility of renewing the contract for a second 18-month term. Depending on funding, the position could be permanent.
Download a full job description: *BTRRC Watershed Coordinator Job Description_150227 (.pdf)
Email .pdf cover letter and resumé to:
Little Thompson Watershed Coordinator (full-time with benefits)
Proven leader needed to help restore an environment and community that survived the Sept 2013 flood. Salary range $50 to $65k, plus benefits. Apply by 10:00 pm MST, Wed, March 18, 2015. Direct multiple restoration projects, take leadership role to acquire funding for ecological health, flood & wildfire resiliency, water quality, wildlife habitat, riparian stability and farm production. Work w/ dedicated team of stakeholders along the river. The Little Thompson Watershed stretches from just below RMNP, goes thru Big Elk Meadows, Pinewood Springs, Lyons (Blue Mtn), Dakota Ridge, Rabbit Mountain, Berthoud and out east to the confluence w/ Big Thompson River on the prairie, near Johnstown/Milliken.
Our small but beautiful river is one of the least developed in the region, and remains a critical wildlife corridor. It is also an important source of agricultural irrigation and domestic drinking water for residents. The right person for this job will have a degree and5 yrs experience, or equivalent, in watershed science, agriculture science, or related natural resource management, business, public administration (government), non-profit management, or planning. Must work independently, manage complex projects, communicate effectively, and facilitate consensus and coordination among stakeholders with diverse interests. Knowledge of watershed issues and regulations, local, state and federal grants, and private sponsorship opportunities a major plus. Projected start date mid-April 2015 or sooner. For the detailed position description and to apply, seewww.ltwrc.org/jobs.html
More info about our Steering Committee and governance: www.ltwrc.org
Photo courtesy of the Big Thompson River Restoration Coalition
DENVER — Wednesday, March 4, 2015 -- Gov. Hickenlooper today invited Coloradans to participate in the National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC), a billion dollar federal competition for communities that have been struck by natural disasters in recent years.
The NDRC was announced in July 2014 by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Hickenlooper met with HUD Secretary Julian Castro on Monday and expressed Colorado's enthusiasm and strong commitment to participating in the competition. Public input during this phase of the application process is critical.
“We heard countless stories of survival, kindness and heroics in the face of unthinkable disasters over the last few years,” Hickenlooper said. “This competition provides us an opportunity to share those stories to help Colorado receive the necessary resources to rebuild better and prepare. It just takes a few minutes. Let’s win this award!”
The NDRC makes available $1 billion in funds, with a maximum award of $500 million. Eligible applicants must successfully develop innovative resilience projects that both address unmet needs from federally-declared disasters in 2011, 2012, or 2013 and that make their communities, citizens, and infrastructure more resilient by applying science-based and forward-looking risk analysis to address recovery, resilience, and revitalization needs. Colorado is one of 67 eligible applicants for the NDRC.
In addition the the public input phase, a key component of Colorado’s NDRC application is the Colorado Resiliency Project (CRP). This is a collective effort focused on preserving, protecting and promoting what makes Colorado special. The project will engage residents and learn their stories of resiliency. Molly Urbina, chief recovery officer for Colorado said CRP’s ultimate goal is to create a framework that Colorado can use to empower communities to be more resilient in the face of natural disasters and other potential disruptions.
“Hearing from Coloradans is critical as we look to create a resiliency framework, resilience is an important part of our everyday business,” says Urbina. “This framework is an instrumental component in Colorado’s long term resilience and adds strength to Colorado’s application to HUD for much needed resiliency dollars. We want to collect as many stories of resiliency as we can and nominations for heroes —individuals who came to aid in the face of disaster or hardship—we bring to light what makes Colorado so special: our collective resilience and commitment to helping our neighbors.”
There are a number of ways Coloradans can participate in this phase of the application:
Provide comment and share stories online at:
Nominate a ‘resiliency hero’ and take the survey:
Participate in a webinar:
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
To join the meeting:
Audio Conference Details:
US (Toll): 1-719-234-7800
Participant Code: 514059
Attend a public meeting:
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Larimer County Conference Center
- located on the southeast side the First National Bank Building The Ranch Events Complex - Larimer County Fairgrounds, 5280 Arena Circle Loveland, CO
Office of Gov. John Hickenlooper
Val Beck, 303-350-0772 c, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy Green, 303-550-9276 c, email@example.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Fort Collins, CO – The Larimer County Board of Commissioners is looking at potential changes for the County’s Floodplain Code Regulations, Section 4.2.2 of the Larimer County Land Use Code. Public input is being sought and three meetings have been scheduled for this, they are:
Big Thompson Canyon:
Date: Tuesday, March 17th, 2015;
Place: Big Thompson Canyon Association Bldg – 1479 W Hwy 34, Drake CO
Date: Tuesday, March 24th, 2015;
Place: Cache La Poudre Middle School, Auxiliary Gym Room 122 – 3515 CR 54G, LaPorte
Date: Tuesday, March 31st, 2015;
Place: Berthoud Community Hall – 248 Welch Ave, Berthoud
Terry Gilbert, Community Development Director, 970-498-7690, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Peterson, County Engineer, 970-498-5714, email@example.com
FROM: Deni La Rue, Community Information Manager, (970) 498-7150, firstname.lastname@example.org
DENVER – The U.S. Agriculture Department said Thursday it will spend another $57 million on recovery work on Colorado rivers and streams that were damaged by the 2013 flood.
Most of the work will be done in Boulder, El Paso and Larimer counties, along with other projects in Jefferson, Morgan and Weld counties, officials said.
Projects can include shoring up eroded banks, removing debris and reseeding hillsides with trees and other vegetation, said Jason Weller, chief of the National Resources Conservation Service, part of the Agriculture Department. Work can be done on public or private land if requested by a state or local government agency, he said.
Photo courtesy of 7News Denver
Read Full Coloradoan Article HERE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2015
COGCC approves new rules for operations within floodplains
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission today unanimously approved new rules that outline requirements for operators with facilities located within floodplains.
The new rules implement several of the recommendations contained in the Commission’s “Lessons Learned” report published in March 2014 following the Front Range floods of September 2013.
The nine-member Commission approved regulations designed to better protect oil and gas facilities that may be subject to flooding and that require more preparations from operators to reduce potential impacts. The new rules formalize “best management practices” when operating within a floodplain and require:
All tanks, new and existing, be surrounded with hardened berms made of steel instead of earthen barriers.
Critical equipment be anchored according to an engineered anchoring plan.
The removal of existing pits used for exploration and product waste.
All new wells to be configured so operators can shut the well in remotely.
“We learned a great deal from our experiences in September of 2013, including what existing practices were successful in reducing damages,” said Matt Lepore, director of the Commission. “Requiring these practices for oil and gas operations within a floodplain makes sense and will ensure environmental impacts are reduced and equipment is further protected should we see another flood event.”
In addition, the new rules require operators, by April 1, 2016, to establish an inventory of wells and critical equipment located within a floodplain and to register 1120 Lincoln St. Suite 801 Denver, CO 80203all such wells and equipment with the COGCC. Operators are also required to create a formal plan on how they will respond to a potential flood. “These new rules requiring operators to establish an inventory and a formal response plan will help ensure both operators and the COGCC can react more quickly when a flood threatens or strikes,” Lepore said.
These new rules are effective June 1, 2015 for new wells and equipment and April 1, 2016 for retrofitting of existing equipment.
The new floodplain rules is the latest of numerous steps undertaken by the COGCC to improve regulation of oil and gas development in Colorado and part of Governor Hickenlooper’s commitment to long-term recovery and resiliency after the 2013 floods. Since 2011, the Hickenlooper administration has crafted rules to increase setbacks, reduce nuisance impacts, protect groundwater, cut emissions, disclose hydraulic fracturing chemicals, increase spill reporting and significantly elevate penalties for operators violating Commission rules.
The Commission has also significantly expanded oversight staff, intensified collaboration with local governments, sponsored ongoing studies to increase understanding of impacts to air and water, streamlined its process for public complaints, increased public access to COGCC data and adopted several formal policies to address health and safety issues brought about by new technologies and increased energy development in Colorado.
Bus Tarbox sat in front of the ivories on his grand piano, stretched his fingers, then let the music flow. As the finishing notes faded away, he smiled.
"It's an old friend," said the 78-year-old Loveland man.
When he lived in his home along the North Fork of the Big Thompson River, he would play several times throughout the day. Every day. Before lunch. In the evening.Whenever he had the itch to hear the clear tones of his Kimball.
Then the 2013 flood raged in and destroyed his home and most of his belongings, filling his haven with 3.5 feet of water.
While the raging waters took so much from so many, they damaged but did not destroy the piano.
That piano will be the centerpiece of his brand new living room this summer when he moves into his new home — the first home of his own since the flood.
Photo Credit: Habitat for Humanity-Loveland
Read Full Loveland Reporter Herald Article HERE
On Feb. 2, the Town of Estes Park welcomed officials from partner agencies at the county, state and federal levels to discuss flood mitigation needs in downtown Estes Park. During a presentation and walking tour Mayor Bill Pinkham, Town Administrator Frank Lancaster, Community Development Director Alison Chilcott, Public Works Director Greg Muhonen and Floodplain Manager/Chief Building Official Will Birchfield explained the hydrologic effects of the 2013 flood on downtown due to undersized channels, bridges and culverts. Amy Hamrick, owner of Kind Coffee, joined the group to explain the challenges she faced post-flood as she reconstructed her business during a three-month closure.
Town leaders also underscored the importance of mitigating flood risk throughout downtown before FEMA remaps the floodplains in an estimated five years. With community support, several potential mitigation projects could be pursued, when funding becomes available, to increase river capacity by widening channels and upgrading bridges and culverts. These projects would aim to increase public safety, improve economic sustainability through reduced flood risk, and keep the most possible properties out of a new regulatory floodplain in order to reduce the economic impact of rising flood insurance costs to owners.
“We wanted to bring potential supporting and funding agencies together to discuss current and needed planning efforts, technical studies, and the imminent need for several downtown flood mitigation projects – to show them the big picture of how Estes Park needs to protect its economic core from future flood events,” explained Town Administrator Frank Lancaster. While discussions with the agencies about distinct projects have been ongoing since the 2013 flood, this is the first time all agencies came together to take a holistic look at mitigation needs. “This dialogue will assist us in preparing effective competitive grant applications -- when they receive a grant application for a potential project downtown, they will have a better feel for how the project fits with other projects to cumulatively benefit downtown.”
Represented agencies included the Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Colorado Department of Local Affairs, FEMA, Governor Hickenlooper’s Office, Larimer County, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.
Subscribe to receive Town news and/or meeting agendas in your email inbox by visiting www.estes.org. More Town news is available at www.estes.org/news, www.facebook.com/townofestesparkco and www.twitter.com/townofestespark.
Photo Credit: Town of Estes Park
Larimer County, Colo. – January 15, 2015 - The Larimer County Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG) in partnership with Loveland Housing Authority is helping residents rebuild in the wake of the historic 2013 Colorado floods. In June of 2014, the first wave of HUD’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funding (CDBG-DR) was released to communities who suffered the most damage in the floods. In Larimer County the Loveland Housing Authority and Larimer County Long-Term Recovery Case Managers are assisting residents with securing that funding as well as coordinating their property replacement, rebuilding or repairs.
“To date we have been managing home repairs, rebuilding, down payment assistance and most recently helping primary residents who have access problems due to damaged bridges or driveways,” said Amy Irwin, Manager of Loveland Housing Authority. “We have about 56 applicants of which 8 repair projects are totally completed and another 14 are in progress. The other applicants are in varying stages of the approval process and hope to underway in early 2015,” said Irwin.
The Loveland Housing Authority has secured more than $7 million dollars to assist primary residents in Larimer County with up to $100,000 per family for home rebuilding or repair. This assistance includes grants and zero interest loans with payments deferred until the sale of the property. Terms are subject to the applicant’s income and other qualifications.
CDBG-DR also includes a $50,000 down payment program to help residents purchase a replacement home. Three applications of $50,000 each have been received to date. One of those families closed on their new home in December and the two others are scheduled to close on their new homes in early 2015.
Jason and Meghan Rademacher were the first Larimer County flood survivors to take advantage of the new down payment program. The Rademachers lost their Glen Haven home during the floods. Just before Christmas they closed on a new home in Glen Haven using $50,000 in CDBG-DR down payment funds. “We wanted to be able to stay in our community. It was great working with everyone from the LTRG Case Management and the Loveland Housing Authority. They made the home purchase so easy,” said Meghan Rademacher.
Recovering from a natural disaster takes a village. The Loveland Housing Authority is one of the partner agencies in the Larimer County Long Term Recovery Group (LTRG.) “Our team works closely with the LTRG Case Managers to coordinate this work. In fact, we recommend residents start by calling with the LTRG case management office. The Case Managers help residents create a comprehensive recovery plan that uses all available resources. CDBG-DR funds won’t cover all the expenses so case managers combine those dollars with volunteer labor and other donated funds to help people with their unmet rebuilding needs,” said Irwin. She added, “Working with the LTRG team has been a true pleasure. It’s uplifting to see everyone’s passion for helping others. We are all in this for the long haul and know rebuilding after a disaster takes time and commitment.”
“Recovering from an event like this is a long process and finding the resources needed can be confusing and time consuming,” said Laura Levy, Recovery Manager for the Larimer LTRG. “Now that the CDBG-DR funding programs are in place, it is a good time to help people understand all their options and the application process for these and other opportunities. Our Case Managers are the most qualified to do that. Even a resident who thinks they don’t qualify or have any other options, should call our office and schedule a meeting with one of our Case Managers. They may be pleasantly surprised to learn it’s not too late to get help,” said Levy. Larimer County residents are encouraged to contact the LTRG office at 970-461-2222.
The Larimer County Long Term Recovery (LTRG) is a group of non-profit organizations that provides coordinated assistance and disaster case management for long-term recovery to flood survivors. The mission of the LTRG is to address the unmet needs of those without the resources to rebuild or repair their homes after the 2013 floods. This includes coordinating thousands of volunteers, working with affected communities to help coordinate recovery needs and providing individual case management services that match clients with resources. To date, the LTRG has coordinated more than 3,000 volunteers who worked more than 84,000 hours on flood repair and cleanup. To date the group’s unmet need and other resource funds granted hundreds of thousands of dollars to flood survivors through their case management system. United Way of Larimer County is the fiscal agent for the LTRG-unmet needs fund. Residents affected by the Larimer County floods are encouraged to call the Larimer County Long Term Recovery Group at 970-461-2222. The LTRG has offices in Estes Park and Loveland. LTRG news and updates may be found at their website, http://www.larimerLTRG.org or on their Facebook page