Little Thompson River Restoration – Community Meeting

Please plan to attend a public meeting to learn more about the restoration of the Little Thompson River and the formation of a coalition to champion the work. The meeting details are:

DATE: January 18, 2014
DAY: Saturday
TIME: 10:30am to 12:00pm
PLACE: Berthoud Community Center, 248 Welch Ave, Berthoud, Colorado

IMPORTANT NOTE: All future communications on the Little Thompson River Restoration will be via email to reduce the time and cost of mailings. Please send email address changes to:
gordon@bigthompson.org

You can also follow the restoration work at our websitewww.bigthompson.org

Finally, please check to make sure your neighbors on the Little Thompson are getting this information.

AN OVERVIEW OF THE RIVER RESTORATION WORK:

There are three major phases to river restoration. The first is the “Exigency” phase where we identify those situations that pose imminent danger to life if not corrected. The Emergency Watershed Protection program managed by Natural Resources Conservation Service provides funding for this work. In the case of Colorado, approximately 12 million dollars for exigency work across all flooded counties was transferred to the Colorado Office of Emergency Management. We have already applied for a share of this money for the Little Thompson and have received feedback that we are “right near the top of the priority list”.

What’s next? The engineers that did the river assessment will provide us with a report of what “must” be fixed. We will get bids and volunteer commitments to do the work and begin the exigency work as soon as possible. The one catch on this activity is that the Big Thompson Conservation District in their role as a local sponsor must come up with 12.5 percent of the total exigency repair costs in cash or “in kind” labor. This commitment will be a key topic at the January 18 meeting.

The second phase of river restoration is developing a Master Plan for the river that takes into account the safety of people living on/near the river, biodiversity maintenance, water quality, ecological balance and many other factors. We have applied to the Colorado Water Conservation Board for a 150,000 grant to hire a river restoration consulting firm(s) to do this work. The Big Thompson Conservation District is committed to providing 50,000 dollars in cash or “in kind” labor as a matching fund for the grant. Once again, a major topic at the January 18 meeting.

The third, and most expensive, phase of the restoration work is implementing the Master Plan. There is a possibility of federal funding for some of this work under the Emergency Watershed Protection program but the funds must be approved by the U.S. Congress.

BUT WHAT ABOUT DAMAGE TO MY PROPERTY?
The primary mission of our work is the restoration of the river, not the properties that adjoin the river. Landowners might see some benefit from river bank restoration and debris removal but can’t use any of the federal funding for improvements/repairs on private property.

However, there is nothing that stops the Little Thompson River Restoration Caalition or individual landowners from going after private donations, foundation grants and volunteers to help in repairing flood damage to individual properties. We know that some of you have suffered devastating losses and may have received little or no help from numerous government agencies. Although it’s not our primary mission, we hope to help structure a coalition that can provide guidance and support in seeking out other funding and volunteer sources to help you.

It is important that all landowners understand that the success of the restoration depends on the success of the Coalition.

We look forward to seeing you at the meeting.

The Big Thompson Conservation District Board
Gordon Gilstrap – President
W.R. (Bill) Markham
Nathan Stoffregen
William Zawacki

Lisa Butler – District Manager

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