County seeks federal flood insurance following East Troublesome Fire
Grand County is working to bring the National Flood Insurance Program to residents and businesses locally who face higher flood risks following the East Troublesome Fire.
In order to participate in the flood insurance program, Grand County’s Office of Emergency Management and Community Development have created draft floodplain regulations, which include permits for development in floodplain areas and development requirements to minimize flooding damage.
The draft floodplain regulations will be reviewed by the County Planning Commission on April 14 before it gets sent to the Board of Grand County Commissioners for review and a public hearing on April 27.
“Our goal – should the BOCC vote to move forward with adopting the floodplain regulations, and following FEMA approval – is to enable Grand County residents to apply for flood insurance through the NFIP in advance of summer monsoons,” Robert Davis, Grand County Community Development Director, said.
In February, the commissioners heard a presentation from a Federal Emergency Management Agency representative who cautioned the East Troublesome Fire burn scar would cause greater flooding and mudflow concerns.
A number of watersheds were burned in the fire, including 94% of the Willow Creek Watershed, 90% of the Stillwater Creek Watershed, 42% of the North Inlet Watershed and 29% of the Colorado River Watershed.
Projections have found that water flow from snowmelt and weather events on the burn scar could be 14 times higher than before.
“The East Troublesome Fire left that land without vegetation to help absorb rainfall,” Alexis Kimbrough, Grand County OEM’s Deputy Director, said. “The soil itself has a hardened crust, almost acting like concrete when redirecting water. These conditions turn what would normally be simply a thunderstorm into a flash flood event.”
If Grand participates in the National Flood Insurance Plan, any resident in the community will be accepted for flood insurance.
The draft floodplain regulations can be seen at http://www.co.grand.co.us/1050/Community-Development.
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