COLORADO SPRINGS — A 17-acre project near Garden of the Gods is now complete after nearly seven years of planning and mitigation efforts due to the Waldo Canyon Fire, which destroyed homes and vegetation in the 10-square mile Camp Creek steep mountain watershed.
The project, floodwater detention, and a sediment collection facility will reduce flood risks after a storm.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) arrived on a National Guard Chinook helicopter to the site as part of their tour of regional mitigation areas across the state.
These mitigation efforts put an end to thousands of dollars of insurance payments from 100 surrounding properties as their flood risks will be significantly reduced.
The project at Camp Creek came after the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2013 when the city took action to prevent future flood hazards.
Officials with the project say the area will hold about 360,000 gallons of water – if needed.
With help from the state and FEMA, the city received an $8.9 million grant for funding, along with the city’s share of about $844,000 for the project.
This will reduce flood hazards at 10 streets that cross the affected flood plain, officials say.
“It’s not a question of whether we’re going to have more flash flooding; its a matter of when. Mitigation is a lot cheaper than the damage that’s caused if you don’t mitigate,” said Mayor John Suthers. “That’s why people should care.”