Glenwood Springs, Mesa and Garfield counties sponsor emergency fire recovery efforts
DENVER — USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has received $3.75 million in funding to assist with wildfire recovery efforts for the Pine Gulch/Grizzly Creek/Cameron Peak and Williams Fork fires.
At this time the City of Glenwood Springs and Mesa and Garfield County have formally requested NRCS assistance and will serve as sponsors in their respective jurisdictions for fire recovery projects to be implemented via the Emergency Watershed Protection program.
The EWP program is managed and administered by the NRCS and is designed to relieve imminent hazards to life and property caused by hurricanes, floods, fires, windstorms and other natural disasters. “This allocation will be used to plan, design and install treatments which will reduce erosion, associated sedimentation, debris flows and curtail the threat of future flooding to protect life and property on non-federal lands,” said Todd Boldt, EWP coordinator for the NRCS in Colorado.
All projects undertaken through EWP must have a project sponsor. Sponsors must be a legal subdivision of the state, such as a city, county, general improvement district, or conservation district, or an Indian Tribe or Tribal organization and have specific roles and responsibilities to implement a successful recovery project. In cooperation with NRCS technical experts, sponsors work with private landowners to assist with the implementation of EWP recovery measures.
“EWP requires close collaboration at the local, state and national levels to ensure success. Leadership and timing is always a critical factor in the success of the program” Boldt goes on to share. “Therefore, NRCS in Colorado took the lead to implement an innovative approach of combining fire recovery efforts into one EWP request. This allows us and the sponsors to expedite assistance to the affected communities and landowners dealing with the aftermath of these devastating fires.”
Private landowners impacted by the Pine Gulch/Grizzly Creek/Cameron Peak/Williams Fork wildfires will work through the local sponsors to implement recovery measures that reduce erosion/sedimentation that protect values at risk. Typical recovery measures include: Upland erosion control, streambank protection, flood diversions, structure protection, sediment control and debris removal.
For more information about NRCS opportunities, the Emergency Watershed Protection and other Programs, please visit http://www.co.nrcs.usda.gov. ❖
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