Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Friday the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the state and local governments for eligible costs to reduce hazards in streams caused by the September floods that pose an immediate threat to lives and property.
According to a news release from Hickenlooper’s office, this is a significant step in the state’s flood recovery efforts to help prepare for the impending spring runoff.
Hickenlooper spoke with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate in Washington, D.C., earlier this week about the funding, and shared concerns from state and local officials that there is significant risk of damage from future flooding if the hazards are not removed.
Hickenlooper also hosted meetings in Denver with FEMA and White House staff on this issue, and the governor’s staff traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate for these funds.
“FEMA’s decision to help cover the cost of removing hazards from streams will help prevent future disaster and aid the state’s recovery efforts,” Hickenlooper said in the news release. “We are grateful to FEMA for allocating the resources needed to take this step to protect Coloradans in the flooded areas, many of whom are still recovering.”
The Governor’s Office worked with U.S. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet and other members of the Colorado congressional delegation to secure the funding.
“Working as a team, we’ve made great strides rebuilding since September’s flood. These funds, which I was proud to fight for in Washington, will help reduce the chances that spring runoff and rain cause tragic landslides or result in more destructive floods,” Udall said. “This is welcome news for Coloradans along the Front Range, but it will not address all of our remaining needs. I will keep fighting to secure the resources communities ravaged by September’s flood need to address both immediate dangers and to fully rebuild.”
Bennet added that it is a huge relief to Coloradans across the Front Range.
“Several Colorado counties face the prospect of further property destruction when snow begins to melt in a matter of weeks, swelling streams clogged with hazards, and creating a high risk of new flooding,” Bennet said. “We’re glad to work with FEMA and state and federal agencies to support local communities in their efforts to remove this debris as quickly as possible, in order to avoid more destruction this spring.”
FEMA’s initial focus on removing hazards from streams will be in Larimer and Boulder counties. Other impacted counties are eligible to apply to FEMA for assistance as local officials define threats and identify sites.