Growing up in the valley, I have lived through years of both drought and flooding. Following last year’s struggles with wildfire, drought, and record high temperatures, this farming season is shaping up to be very different. The fields are green — even parts of the adobe areas have ground cover sprouting up. As the temperatures continue to climb, the county has not seen the end of the flooding from run-off and increased spring rains.
Last week, residents off Marine Road experienced flooding. To date, one home took on water, and the water levels were coming near others. The water level was high enough in the road that the postal service was not able to deliver mail (including bills, paychecks and more). The county felt it was in the best interest of the several-hundred individuals living in the area to provide assistance. Thank you again to the following volunteers and agencies involved for the efforts to remediate floodwaters in the area: Haynes Excavation, ATC, Colorado Department of Emergency Management, Montrose County Jail Inmates, City of Montrose Public Works and Gunnison County.
Floods are among the most common weather hazards in the United States. They can happen anywhere at any time of year. Do you know if you live in a floodplain? To find out, please visit msc.fema.gov/portal/search and enter your address. If you live in or near a flood plain, I strongly recommend insurance. Please contact your insurance agent for more information.
Montrose County is home to a complicated irrigation system and several natural flowing streams and creeks. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages the natural waterways, and the county is not allowed to legally alter, modify, or engage in mitigation work on these waterways. The county can liaise with the Corps to work on mitigation efforts on a project-by-project basis. The majority of flooding, however, occurs on private property. I encourage you to take steps to protect your property and house if you live on or near an area with flooding potential. Know where to find sandbags and resources if needed and plan.
Be prepared — with knowledge and a plan — to decrease the impacts of a disaster. To begin a plan, first think of the five P’s: people, pets, prescriptions, photos, and personal computer. These five things should be considered when developing a plan. Visit ready.gov for plan examples and other preparedness tips. Having a 72-hour kit and resources readily available in the time of any emergency eases panic and improves your response to the situation.
Montrose County is here to help. Emergency Manager Greg Fisher works under the Sheriff’s Office and leads the county’s emergency planning efforts. Fisher also manages response to disasters. Don’t worry, the county will be involved when the situation is life-threatening or requires evacuations; the county may be involved when infrastructure is threatened or when the negative impacts to the community are overwhelming. Finally, do not forget to sign-up for the county’s emergency notification system CodeRED at montrosecountysheriffsoffice.com.
You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 970-249-7755 to continue talking about flooding and waterways.
Appears in the Montrose Press on Sunday, May 12, 2019