Senators Led Delegation Request for Quick Release of Funding
Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall today welcomed the release of $11.7 million from the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program to help restore watersheds damaged by September’s devastating floods. The funding will help cover 75 percent of the costs for 26 emergency projects, such as the stabilization of riverbanks and rechanneling of rivers and streams that were redirected following the historic floods that swept through Colorado’s Front Range.
“With winter weather descending on Colorado, it is more important than ever to complete these watershed restoration projects so that the spring snowmelt doesn’t cause further flood damage,” Bennet said. “These resources will help restore our watersheds and riverbanks and help protect nearby communities. Coloradans are banding together to quickly complete these projects, in many cases ahead of schedule, and this funding will support those efforts. We will continue to work closely with NRCS and other federal agencies to meet the needs of the many other recovery projects that remain.
“The September flood literally redrew the map in parts of Colorado, with some streams and rivers moving hundreds of feet from their original paths. During my travels to flood-damaged communities, I saw first-hand the extensive erosion and damage caused by this disaster,” Udall said. “These funds, which I have been proud to champion with the delegation, will help us restore Colorado's waterways, stabilize river and stream banks, and provide much needed protection for soil erosion and mudslides.”
Bennet and Udall led the Colorado Congressional delegation in requesting the NRCS, along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prioritize these projects. They specifically asked for the quick release of any available funds from the EWP program to finance this urgent work.
Bennet and Udall have worked closely with the delegation since the flooding began to ensure that Coloradans have every resource needed to save lives and rebuild. They helped lead a delegation-wide effort that successfully lifted the cap on the amount of emergency transportation resources Colorado could access to rebuild damaged infrastructure. The senators also led the Colorado delegation to urge the President to quickly declare an emergency when flooding began to ensure that emergency funding was available for response and recovery efforts. More recently, they voiced support for Governor Hickenlooper’s request to add additional counties to those eligible for individual and public assistance and to extend the application deadline for applying for support from FEMA.