On July 1 we began
a one-year pilot project with FEMA to assume the responsibility to review requests for
Conditional Letters of Map Revision (CLOMRs) and Letters of Map Revision (LOMRs) for the
32 communities within the District that are participating in the National Flood Insurance
Program (NFIP). The project is funded by a
$100,000 grant administered through Region 8. We
have retained ICON Engineering, Inc. to assist us in the technical reviews of these
It would probably
not be appropriate for me to discuss too many details about our experiences to date, at
least not until we have our six-month progress review with FEMA, which is now scheduled
for February. I will say that 5 ½ months
into this effort our experience has been about as good as I could have imagined or hoped
for. Ill have a lot more to say at the
conclusion of this effort.
It is not too
early, however, to recognize Mike Buckley, Matt Miller, Mike Grimm and Sally Magee at FEMA
Washington for taking this step and for allowing us to do the work. I also want to thank Dan Carlson at FEMA Region 8
for helping me with the paperwork, and Tom Smith and his colleagues at Michael Baker, Jr.
for all of their assistance.
Future floodplains on FIRMs
As I reported in this space last year, one of the first and
best policy decisions of the District was to delineate and regulate 100-year floodplains
based on projected future development of the watershed. This belief was reinforced when
the 2000 census numbers were released and we found that Colorado had added a million
people over the last ten years, with most of them landing in the Districts area.
We have had a running battle with FEMA, and before them the
Federal Insurance Administration, about this issue. They
insisted on using existing conditions floodplains on their FIRMs, and, of course, we
wanted to use the future conditions floodplains. A
couple of years ago the FEMA staff began to take a look at how they could accommodate
those of us who wanted to use the future conditions floodplains.
That effort was headed up by Mike Grimm, who worked for
Fort Collins before heading to Washington. Mikes
efforts culminated on November 27, when FEMA published a rule that allows future
conditions hydrology floodplains to be shown on FIRMs, for informational purposes, at the
request of the community. This approach
allows FEMA to continue to require flood insurance based on the present risk, while
helping progressive communities to plan for the future by recognizing the future flood
hazard. My thanks to Mike for a job well
FEMA funding breakthrough
For the first time in many years FEMAs budget
includes money ($25 million) from the general fund for mapping. For the last several years mapping costs have been
funded by a fee charged to flood insurance purchasers only.
It is too early to know how FEMA will utilize this new source of funds.
Congresss deliberations regarding this funding, a remarkable coalition of
organizations came together to support it, including National Association of Counties,
National League of Cities, National Association of Development Organizations, Coastal
States Organization, National Emergency Management Association, Association of State
Floodplain Managers, Association of State Wetland Managers, National Association of Flood
and Stormwater Management Agencies, American Congress of Surveying and Mapping, American
Planning Association, American Public Works Association, National Association of Home
Builders, National Association of Realtors, National Lenders Insurance Council, and
American Society of Civil Engineers. Susan
Gilson from NAFSMA played a key role in assembling this coalition.
FEMA really needs this money to upgrade their maps. I hope this is the start of many years of
increasing levels of funding.
The year in review
We continue to be just about maxed out on development
referrals, and it is a constant struggle to assure that new development doesnt
increase the flood hazard potential within the District.
Our maintenance eligibility program continues to flourish
under David Mallorys direction. He
currently has over 200 separate projects somewhere in the process between design review
and final acceptance of construction. See
Davids column elsewhere in this issue.
Kevin Stewart continues to assure that we have the best
possible flood detection system, and he continues to be in demand as an expert in this
field (see his list of professional activities on page 20 and his column in this issue). If you check out our web site at www.udfcd.org you will also see Kevins handiwork.
Implementation of portions of our master plans,
particularly regional detention facilities, is always a challenge. We continue to have some successes that I would
like to highlight.
The E-470 Public Highway Authority has constructed a major
detention facility, which also served as a borrow area, on Third Creek. They also constructed another detention
pond/borrow area on the Buffalo Run Tributary to Third Creek.
Last year I reported that we had negotiated an
intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with Aurora, Denver, Gateway Regional Metro District and
Town Center Metro District (Oakwood Homes) for implementation of the regional detention
facilities called for in the upper First Creek master plan, including cost sharing for the
Green Valley Ranch Golf Course Pond and the Blue Grama Pond. The IGA called for Town Center to construct the
Green Valley Ranch pond in conjunction with golf course construction and to be reimbursed
by the other parties. That pond has been
built and paid for.
This year we added approximately 84 miles of newly
identified 100-year floodplains to our inventory in two major studies that were completed
in conjunction with Outfall Planning Studies. The
first was Flood Hazard Area Delineation for Lower Box Elder Creek Watershed,
September, 2001, by Wright Water Engineers (53 miles); followed by Flood Hazard Area
Delineation, Plum Creek & Tributaries, November, 2001, by WRC Engineering, Inc.
We have modified our scope of work for these studies to
have the flood data prepared in digital form which should be compatible with FEMAs
Digital Flood Insurance Rate Map (DFIRM) specifications.
Our hope is that it will be easier to add these floodplains to the DFIRMs by having them in
Master planning efforts
As I reported last year I somehow ended up managing two
difficult master planning projects, even though the District has a separate Master
Planning Program. We have almost completed
the final report for the lower portion of the First Creek watershed. It should have a December or January date.
Our recommended plan for South Boulder Creek was accepted
by the University of Colorado but rejected by both Boulder and Boulder County. This was the Districts third attempt (my
second and last) to prepare a plan that had a chance to be implemented.
Please see Ben Urbonas for any of your future master