Initial responses to the September 2013 flood that impacted Left Hand Creek along with several other South Platte tributaries along the Front Range focused on issues of immediate health and safety such as rescue, transportation, stabilization of property, and clearing debris from the channel. Later, the realization that long-term restoration of a healthy watershed would require additional steps to be made in a coordinated manner led the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) to organize long-term master planning coalitions for the flooded creeks. These additional steps would include actions to find an appropriate balance between water conveyance and energy dissipation, restore channels designed to handle both low and high flows, provide adequate protection against excessive erosion and sedimentation, and restore aquatic habitat.
As with other affected watersheds, a coalition of stakeholders was assembled on a temporary basis during 2014 under the leadership of Boulder County to oversee the development of a Master Plan for long-term flood recovery. The contractor for the project was AMEC, Inc, of Boulder, along with Walsh Environmental and CDR Associates. The planning effort was supported by a Colorado Water Conservation Board planning grant and Boulder County. AMEC completed the master plan in November 2014.
The plan recommends a number of flood mitigation and creek restoration projects that could be implemented with additional funding. Some of these projects have a watershed-wide scope, and others are specific to certain stream reaches. Several potential sources of funding could be used to implement recommended projects.
The temporary coalition selected LWOG to help coordinate the implementation of mitigation and creek restoration projects consistent with the Master Plan. Accordingly, starting in 2015, LWOG will be helping with this role.