Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Jesse Murphy
Editorial@lhvc.com 

Grant to provide flood recovery work

 

Courtesy Photo

The Lefthand Watershed Oversight Group recently received word that a Community Development Block Grant was approved for 14 projects in the Lefthand Valley area.

According to Watershed Coordinator Jessica Olson, they originally received a matching grant for around $9.5 million to do flood recovery work through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s emergency watershed protection program.

The match was 12.5 percent, which is where the CDBG funds came into play.

Olson said that Boulder County sponsored several of the projects by paying directly, including the James and Little James Creek projects, and one project east of Highway 119.

“In total, we are really working through a huge portion of the watershed,” Olson said. “It’s pretty impressive. We have funding to do recovery and restoration work on about 75 percent of Left Hand Creek. It’s a great opportunity for us to be able to design and build these projects.”

Surveys were done in August, and once LWOG received word in November on which projects would be eligible, they began work on obtaining the CDBG monies.

Funding for these projects usually comes piecemeal, Olson said, which makes this one special since it will be done all at once.

“This is great that we can do all of the work at the same time,” Olson said. “We are involving multiple land owners, public and private entities to accomplish these projects.”

The program requires that 30 percent of the design work has to be done by September of this year for all of the areas.

“We have a pretty fast-paced timeline to get the designs done,” Olson said. “We have to be 100 percent done with that (design) phase by January 2017. We are expecting to go to construction on many of these starting this fall.”

The construction window is also small — the program has a stipulation that all work must be completed by January 2018.

“Right now we are focusing on meeting with the landowners who are in these project areas,” Olson said. “The idea is to get them on board. It’s an initial step that is required prior to design work.”

Meeting with owners is another task that has to be completed before design can begin, which Olson said LWOG has been working on.

Owners who see the benefit of the flood recovery program are also helping out with this aspect.

“I think most of the people have heard from us already,” Olson said. “There are still some people that we haven’t reached out to yet. We do already have the Streamcrest and Crestview areas where all of the owners have signed access agreements. Most of the upper reaches of the canyon are on board too.

“A lot of people in the area are reaching out to their neighbors to help get this going. It’s neat to see the landowners take charge to help move the project forward.”

Olson said that even though they have raised funds to get the projects completed, they still will need funding to maintain and monitor the areas for three years following the implementation to ensure success.

Anyone with questions can contact the LWOG office at 303-530-4200 or visit the website, http://www.lwog.org.

 

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