First fires and now floods, Colorado has seen a lot of weather in the past few months. While some are referring to the event as a “100 year flood,” these floods, like fires, are a recurring problem in Colorado. The Colorado Water Conservation Board has noted that 267 cities and towns as well as 64 counties have been identified as flood-prone areas. Many of the areas in Boulder, for example, which were inundated by rain water the past few weeks, are consistent with flood maps made years ago which predict areas prone to recurring floods.
Flood mitigation is one way to help in prevention of flood damage. This involves controlling the movement of flood water and run-off using flood-walls, flood gates and other tactics. It also involves have a plan in place for when floods do occur, including evacuation methods. Flood risk maps, as previously noted, show areas at most risk of flooding. Being aware of these areas and having flood mitigation techniques in place most likely reduced the damage seen in Boulder, Lyons and other affected areas, which is already extensive.
These floods are also a reminder of why fire rehabilitation and soil erosion control are important and need to be quickly addressed after a fire. Loss of vegetation can have an impact on potential flooding, providing bare, clear slopes for water to run down. Powerful flood waters can do a lot of damage to soil washing away layers and leaving deep crevices where they shouldn’t be, creating dangerous conditions. Preventing and reducing erosion as well as regrowth of vegetation are extremely important.