The Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWPP) put in place by Garfield County to mitigate damage to the watershed caused by last summer’s wildfires is making progress, according to a Garfield County press release.
The Pine Gulch Fire burned more than 139,000 acres in areas of Mesa and Garfield counties. Engineering for most of the projects in the Pine Gulch Fire area has been completed, the EWPP team told the Garfield County Commissioners earlier this week, and construction has been completed on about half the projects.
According to the release, projects include bank stabilization, berm placement, stream channel additions and muscle wall placement, which would help channel water and/or mud away from structures in the event of a debris flow.
The EWPP team includes engineers from SGM, Garfield County Construction Contract Administrator Scott Henriksen, Garfield County Emergency Operations Commander Chris Bornholt and staff from Kuersten Construction, according to the release.
The team is also working on mitigating effects of the Grizzly Creek Fire, according to the release, which burned 32,600 acres last summer in and around Glenwood Canyon.
The team started projects in the No Name area last week, the release said, and mitigation design work at Bair Ranch has also started.
John Kuersten, owner of Kuersten construction, told the Garfield County Commissioners some of the work is running into issues with habitat, fish spawning and high water.
“That might have to wait until later in the fall,” Kuersten said. “But we’re going to do all the work we can right now over the next couple weeks.”
Despite a flash flood watch advisory issued last weekend, there hasn’t been any flash flooding seen around the burn scar in Glenwood Canyon, Kuersten said in the release.
According to the release, through May engineering costs have totaled $80,000 and construction costs $154,000. The overall budget for the project is $1 million.
The initial contracts for the work were for $150,000 for engineering and $535,000 for construction, according to the release.
The Natural Resource Conservation Service is reimbursing Garfield County 100% for engineering costs and 80% for engineering costs, according to the release.