Residents have mixed feelings about unrealized mudslide mitigation plans
CANYON CREEK – Carol Turtle stood in Liz Armstrong’s driveway as her eyes filled with tears.She was upset that more wasn’t done in preparation for the mudslides that hit the rural community Thursday night as heavy rain caused several debris flows, one of which filled Armstrong’s carport with three feet of mud and closed the Canyon Creek Road for about an hour and a half.”A good plan not implemented is worse than not having a plan at all,” Turtle said.Turtle, along with about 20 other Canyon Creek residents, attended a community meeting Monday evening at the old Canyon Creek Schoolhouse where residents listened to – and some approved – preliminary mitigation plans developed by the Bookcliff Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).The plans were to barricade parts of Canyon Creek road with “Jersey” barriers, large concrete barriers used in road construction. This would block water and debris runoff caused by heavy rains and divert it away from homes that lie in the natural drainage paths.
However, the plan was awaiting final funding approval from Garfield County to begin work, according to Dennis Davidson with the NRCS.That’s what upset Turtle.Turtle wondered why the work couldn’t begin before the funds were released.”It’s too late to stop the damage this time,” she said. “But it’s not too late to protect us from future storms.”Turtle’s residence didn’t sustain much damage, but another home on her property that she rents took in about six-inches of mud.
At Monday’s meeting, Davidson explained that work couldn’t begin until the approximate $106,000 in funds were approved. He did tell residents they could begin work on their own, but he couldn’t guarantee any financial reimbursements.The $106,000 is only 75 percent of the total cost of work on the privately owned land. Contributions from other entities or residents would account for the other 25 percent.Armstrong, on the other hand, whose yard and landscaping suffered extreme damage, was quite relieved that the barriers weren’t in place.”If they would have been in place it would have caused more damage,” she said, pointing out that the water and mud could have driven the barriers into her house.Davidson was not available for comment on Friday regarding county approval of the funds, or if preliminary mitigation plans will still be implemented for future storms.
Contact John Gardner: firstname.lastname@example.orgPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
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