LARIMER COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL AND SCIENCE ADVISORY BOARD (ESAB)

 MEETING MINUTES

April 14, 2015

 

 

Members In Attendance:

 

Guests:

Cassie Archuleta

 

Sarah Bliss, Sprit Mtn. Outreach Team

Michael Jones

 

Eric Tracy, Engineering Department

Kimberly Karish

 

 

Evelyn King

 

Staff :

Joseph Wilson

 

Doug Ryan

 

The meeting on this date was conducted as an informational meeting because a quorum was not present. 

 

Introduction of Members and Guests:

Those in attendance introduced themselves.

 

Discussion Items:

Floodplain Regulations.  Eric Tracy provided an overview and discussion concerning proposed amendments to the County’s floodplain regulations.  The proposed revisions include a provision to allow substantially damaged structures in the floodway that are impacted by an event other than a flood to be rebuilt subject to certain standards.  The current regulation does not allow structures located in the floodway that are substantially damaged to be rebuilt.  As part of their review, the Advisory Board considered a planned pilot study for a High Hazard Overlay Zone.  That study would consider the use of risk-based criteria such as depth and velocity data and erosion buffer zones as ways to protect both property and safety.

 

In preparation for the review, representatives from the Advisory Board attended a joint County Commissioner/Planning Commission work session in March as well as one of the recent community informational meetings hosted by the County. 

 

As part of the discussion, members raised a series of questions or comments regarding the purpose of the floodplain regulations to protect safety, property and the environment.  It was pointed out that the September 2013 flood was particularly damaging not because of extremely high water levels, but because of the long duration of flooding and the resulting erosion and channel migration that occurred. 

 

Part of the materials reviewed by the Advisory Board included a fact sheet titled River Corridor Protection and Management, published by the Colorado Water Conservation Board in 2014.  It cautions that protection zones based on water level inundation alone offer minimal protection, and noted that the most effective method of long-term flood hazard reduction may be the establishment of a Fluvial Erosion Hazard Area Zone or Overlay District.  This concept incorporates the function of both water and sediment transport along a stream channel during high-flow events.  The fact sheet is available on the Water Conservation Board’s website at  http://cwcb.state.co.us/environment/watershed-protection-restoration/Documents/CO_RiverCorridorProtectionFS.pdf

 

Following the discussion, it was the consensuses of the members present that obtaining the information on hazard zones from the planned pilot study is important for protecting safety, property and the environment.  Allowing rebuilding in the floodway without this information may be contrary to these important protections.  The members asked the Chair to prepare a memo with this consensus for review by email circulation by the members.  A final memo will be forwarded to the County Commissioners ahead of the planned public hearings to consider the proposed regulation amendments. 

 

Updates:  

Doug Ryan shared information from the Army Corps on Engineers that they are confident that the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) for the NISP water project will be released in June for a 45 day public comment period.  The County Commissioners have asked the ESAB to review the EIS and make comments back to the Commissioners to assist them in formulating the County’s formal comments. 

 

ESAB Issue Index:

Doug Ryan will update the Issue Index related to the topics discussed at the meeting.

 

May Meeting Agenda:

Afternoon tour of the Rawhide Energy Station.

 

June and July Meeting Agendas:

Review and comment on the NISP Water Project SDEIS. 

 

Adjourn:

The meeting ended at 8:30 PM