Long-Term Stream Recovery

The flooding event of September 2013 caused significant impacts to the river/stream system in the entire disaster area. While short-term, exigent actions were initiated to remove debris

Hazard Mapping Locationin the streams and stabilize stream banks, federal, state and local officials recognize the need to plan for long-term stream recovery strategies.

Stream recovery issues can be complex and involve multiple stakeholders across varying levels of government and the community. As such, the State of Colorado established the Stream Recovery Steering Committee in 2014, a collaborative effort of state and federal agency technical experts focused on stream recovery of the flood impacted areas from immediate circumstances to long-term strategies and initiatives.

2013 Flooding

The Committee brings together the appropriate state agencies -- under the leadership of the Colorado Governor’s Resiliency and Recovery Office and with support from the Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator and appropriate federal agencies -- to serve as the coordinating entity for all stream recovery related initiatives.

This structure provides for a unified approach to cultivate technical assistance support, develop a stream recovery work plan, implement strategies and identify resource needs aimed at achieving long-term resilient and sustainable stream recovery.

Included among the Stream Recovery Steering Committee’s ongoing objectives are:

  • Developing and executing a strategic work plan that moves stream/river recovery activities from the immediate/exigent phase to a master planning phase and ultimately, project implementation.
  • Identify various funding opportunities to support planning, design and construction activities and ensure coordinated and efficient distribution of funding resources across the various levels of government to support the priorities of the watershed based coalitions.
  • Identify policy areas and challenges to promoting watershed based stream/river recovery planning and implementation with a goal of consistency where appropriate.
  • Create a model process that identifies ways to maximize capacities of locally based watershed coalition planning groups to successfully plan for and implement stream/river recovery projects with the goal to use as a template. 
  • Incorporate elected officials/community leaders to advocate for recovery priority and action.
Road Damaged by Flooding

It is important to remember that the recovery from the September 2013 flooding is a marathon, not a sprint. It will take years of strategic master planning to build back watersheds and streams better, stronger, more sustainable and more resilient than before the disaster.