Comprehensive Creek Planning Initiative Moves Forward

Monday, February 10, 2014

Boulder County, Colo. - As a part of flood recovery, Boulder County launched a Comprehensive Creek Planning Initiative in November 2013 to address the post-flood condition of creeks in the county. The Comprehensive Creek Planning Initiative conducted a series of community outreach meetings, targeting Boulder County neighborhoods that experienced severe impacts from the flood. Since these meetings, which were attended by over 650 residents, Boulder County has consolidated the information collected at these meetings with other sources of information, and has begun forming plans for short- and long-term creek recovery. Summaries from the facilitated neighborhood discussions have been collected, organized and posted online.

Short – Term Emergency Mitigation 
For short term recovery, Boulder County is identifying site-specific conditions that need to be addressed so water flows that may come with spring run-off, or summer monsoon rains, do not create additional hazards. The information provided by residents at the community meetings has informed identification of these site-specific conditions. Once fully understood, Boulder County hopes to facilitate a process whereby different public agencies can partner with landowners to implement and fund the necessary emergency mitigation measures, including debris removal, creek bank stabilizations and creek channel capacity projects. Following is the timeline for short-term creek recovery activities:

December 2013 – January 2014
    • The Creek Planning project team consolidated resident-reported creek and other flood-related damages with information from other agencies, such as the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Boulder County Flood Rebuilding & Permit Information Center (FRPIC), U.S. Army Corps of Engineer (COE), and Boulder County Flood Debris Removal Team. 
    • The project team performed a digital analysis of the data to determine potential effects of creek-related hazards, e.g. debris in creek, creek bed elevation, bank erosion, channel changes, etc. and identify site conditions which may have a high impact on surrounding areas.

February – March 2014 
    • The project team is conducting in-the-field verification visits to identified sites. This will help determine whether a threat to creek flow and containment is a short-term imminent threat with increased creek flows or if the threat is a longer term concern.
    • As the field visits progress, the project team will develop a list of creek-related projects to be implemented over the spring and early summer. The list will target the areas of highest need first for implementation. 
As the county works with other agencies to finalize plans and investigate funding sources for emergency mitigation, more information will be available to residents about specific project locations, scopes and implementation schedule. 

Long – Term Creek Recovery
In conjunction with the short-term actions, the Creek Planning Project Team has begun a countywide Master Plan development process. Master Plans provide a road map for longer-term creek planning, restoration and recovery with goals that address flood hazard mitigation, water quality, riparian areas, terrestrial habitat, recreation and more. These plans will also help facilitate the restoration of public and private infrastructure throughout the county, such as culverts, bridges and roads that are located adjacent to or within creek channels. 

For some watersheds, such as St. Vrain Creek and Lefthand Creek, Boulder County will be the lead contracting agency, working with other jurisdictions and stakeholders to develop the Master Plans. For other areas, such as Boulder Creek, Rock Creek/Coal Creek and Little Thompson, Boulder County will be a participating agency with other agencies taking the lead.  

All of the master plans will be collaborative efforts among local communities, state and federal agencies, residents and other stakeholders who are interested in creek recovery. Provided that sufficient funding for master plan development is available, the master planning process will get underway in the spring and early summer of this year. 

For more information about the Comprehensive Creek Planning Initiative visit the webpage or email

Gabi Boerkircher
Public Information Specialist

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