Emergency Watershed Protection Funds Will Address Debris Issues that Threaten Coloradans' Homes, Businesses
U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall announced today that they have secured $110 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program to help strengthen Colorado's ongoing recovery efforts in the wake of the September 2013 flood. The funds — which Bennet and Udall have led the fight to have appropriated — will help Colorado communities remove hazardous debris, repair streambeds and conduct bank stabilization in waterways that could cause new damage during future storms.
Colorado has an estimated $61.5 million in projects awaiting funding through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program. The $110 million included in the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee's bill, announced today, is expected to cover the great majority of these needs and other similar needs throughout the country.
"Folks across Colorado have made a lot of progress in rebuilding their communities in the wake of devastating floods and wildfires," Bennet said. "There is still work to do, and these EWP resources will help complete projects to restore watersheds and riverbanks and prevent flooding in the future. We will continue to work to ensure Colorado has the funding it needs for the recovery projects that remain."
"Colorado is on the road to recovery, and I am proud to have led the bipartisan efforts in the delegation to ensure our friends and neighbors have the resources they need to rebuild after the 2013 flood. These Emergency Watershed Protection Program funds will help ensure that Coloradans are able to confront jammed and damaged waterways that threaten homes and businesses during future storms," Udall said. "This is an important victory for Colorado's flood recovery, but we are far from finished. I will keep fighting to ensure Colorado can rebuild stronger and smarter in the wake of last year's floods."
The appropriations bill now moves to the full U.S. Senate.
Bennet and Udall have led the effort to ensure Colorado has the federal resources it needs to rebuild in the wake of the 2013 flood. They successfully secured $450 million in emergency federal transportation funds to repair Colorado's road, bridges and highways damaged in the flood. They also led the successful effort to bring more than $262 million in federal recovery aid to Colorado through the U.S. Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program.
Bennet and Udall also have introduced legislation to give the victims of the 2013 flood, 2013's Black Forest Fire, and 2012's Waldo Canyon and High Park wildfires common-sense tax relief. Bennet and Udall led efforts to secure federal aid to restore watersheds damaged by the recent mega-fires.