The Boxelder Creek Watershed is a vast, relatively undeveloped part of northeastern Larimer County. The drainage basins in this watershed cover approximately 260 square miles and extend from extreme southeastern Wyoming into southeast Fort Collins with flooding continuing extending past Timnath toward the southeast. The Lower Boxelder Valley is irrigated and it contains some of the best agricultural land in the County.
The Lower Boxelder Basin, close to I-25, has developed into an agribusiness and agri-research corridor which includes a major brewery, the Colorado State University Horticultural Research Center, and the Colorado State University Agricultural Research, Development, and Educational Center.
The entire Town of Wellington and a sizeable portion of the City of Fort Collins are included in the Lower Boxelder Basin. The lower, southerly portion of the Basin is more urbanized and is impacted by many existing man-made structures such as streets and buildings.
The Authority is continuing the make steady progress as it moves forward with the remaining projects conceptually identified in the Original Master Plan. Since our last newsletter much has transpired and we are seeing the need to increase our communications to keep everyone informed.
Here are the Updates:
The Coal Creek Flood Mitigation Project (CCFMP)
This project is now complete. All that remains are the monitoring and maintenance of the erosion control measures installed with the project.
East Side Detention Facility (ESDF)
This proposed facility remains sited next to the Gray Lakes Reservoirs across Interstate 25 from the Budweiser Brewery. This site is south of the original master planned site. It was selected from several other sites because it provided an efficient and large storage capacity while keeping construction costs lower through an earthwork balance. The fatal flaw analysis is now complete. We are now looking further into modeling flows across County Road 52 and how they will be channeled into the proposed facility. We are now initiating the final design.
Larimer Weld Canal Crossing Structure (LWCCS)
As we reported earlier, because of the efficiency of ESDF the Middle Basin improvements have now been reduced to a single crossing structure where Boxelder Creek crosses the Larimer Weld Canal. This spillway will greatly reduce downstream overflow in the Canal east of this crossing as well as overflow in the Cooper Slough west of I25. Coordination continues with the Canal Company.
In November and December of last year the City of Fort Collins and Timnath amended their IGA to allow for the eventual opening of box culverts under Interstate 25 at Boxelder Creek. As a result of this, the Timnath Development Authority (TDA) contributed $500,000 to the final design and construction costs of the ESDF. In addition the TDA agreed to participate in 25% of the remaining design and construction costs of ESDF and LWCCS. This was a major cooperative effort and was a major step forward in keeping these projects moving forward.
On May 14, the Authority’s loan application for ESDF and LWCCS to the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), was approved and we are now ready to begin discussion of the final contract and move into final design and begin negotiations for the required land for the ESDF. The combined total loan package is for $9.9M with 10% matching funds. Terms of these Loans will be for 15 years at 2.75%. The final loan amount is determined as these project come to substantial completion. At this point the targeted date for substantial completion is the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015. This approach, along with TDA participation, will hopefully allow the Authority to pay off the loans and sunset the Authority within 15 years of substantial completion.
January Joint Meeting
In a joint meeting on January 17, 2013, the Larimer County Commissioners, City of Fort Collins Council Members, the Town of Wellington Trustees agreed to craft an Amendment to the Original IGA with the following provisions:
1. The Authority be allowed to issue debt for the CWCB Loan Package (described above)
2. Provision for establishing a sunset clause for termination of the Authority
3. Give the Authority the ability to grant fee credits
At the request of the County, the issue of expanding the Authority’s Boundary was tabled. This IGA Amendment is continuing through the approval process at this time.
Overall the Authority remains committed to the goal of reducing the flood hazards and the threat of flooding to homes and businesses downstream within the FEMA mapped floodplain of Boxelder Creek.
As a reminder, all Board Meetings are open to the public. They are generally on the fourth Thursday of the month. Meetings are held at the Leeper Center in Wellington and begin at 4:00pm. The Board Meeting packets, which include the agenda, and engineer, financial, and manager reports, are also available for viewing on this website under the "Documents & Map" section. These packets are posted to the website a few days in advance of the Board Meetings.
I trust this update gives you a more current picture of our progress and the state of the Authority. As always let me know if you have questions or need clarifications.
Stan A Myers P.E., Manager
HOW THE IMPROVEMENTS WILL WORK!
The Boxelder Basin Regional Stormwater Authority was created in August 2008 by Larimer County, the City of Fort Collins and the Town of Wellington in accordance with Colorado Revised Statute 29-1-203 by intergovernmental agreement (IGA).
Authority Responsibility - The Authority is responsible for the implementation (including design, construction, operations and maintenance) of regional improvements of the adopted Boxelder Stormwater Master Plan. The improvements have a total estimated & updated cost of $15 million and include:
- Adding floodwater capacity to an existing water storage facility (Coal Creek Flood Mitigation Facility at Clark Reservoir)
- Construction of a new stormwater detention facility (called East Side Detention Facility), and
- Middle Basin Improvements to direct floodwater away from the westerly flood flowpath
The improvements will reduce the hazard of flooding to many existing houses, two schools, several government buildings and many commercial buildings located in the Lower Boxelder Community. Many commercial buildings near the intersection of State Highway 14 and Interstate Highway 25 are subject to flooding and will no longer be subject to flood damages as well. While reducing the potential for damage benefits the owners of the respective properties, the community will also benefit from the increased economic vitality of these areas. FEMA rules require owners of properties located in flood hazard areas to purchase flood insurance if they are financed by a Federally regulated institution. FEMA also requires local governments to enact land use restrictions in flood hazard areas so that additional improvements will not be put at risk. Owners who are freed from the burdens of flood insurance and land use regulation will be more inclined and enabled to put money into their properties. This will benefit the community by increasing property values.
Public safety is a concern in times of flooding, and emergency response providers are required to respond to private and public needs. Sanitary sewers may become hydraulically overloaded due to interception of floodwater causing backup of raw sewage into homes and businesses. The reduction in flood hazard brought about by the planned improvements will benefit the Lower Boxelder Community by reducing the demand on emergency response resources when a flood occurs.