Flood Mitigation Project in Limon

Background

The Town of Limon needed to mitigate floodplain problems created by actions of the long-bankrupt Rock Island Railroad. Past actions by the railroad had resulted in enlargement of the floodplain to cover almost 1/3 of the Town of Limon. The rail line is currently owned by Mid-States Port Authority and operated by Kyle Railways, Inc. of Kansas and offers a valuable component of agriculture grain shipping for area farmers. Neither the Town of Limon, Mid-States nor Kyle had the resources needed to mitigate the problem. By town ordinance, development was prohibited within the floodplain as long as it existed.

Project

The project consisted of various phases:

  1. Channelization of the drainageway
  2. Placement of 70 feet by 100 feet of concrete box culverts
  3. Removal of silt from an existing highway structure
  4. Removal and replacement of railroad tracks
  5. Creation of wetlands for the CDOT wetland banking program

Representatives from the Town of Limon, Colorado Water Conservation Board, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Soil Conservation Service, East Central Council of Local Governments, Kyle Railways, Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), and Mid-States Port Authority began to meet regularly in 1992 to attempt to find a way to mitigate the problem. A key early component was the discovery that a fishing pond could serve a portion of the required channelization and the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) became another partner. As a result, the Town of Limon began to coordinate, apply for and manage a unique flood mitigation funding package.

Benefits

  1. Not only did the project physically remove a large portion of Town from the floodplain, but the resulting 1.1 acre fishing pond is a favorite activity of youth in the community. In addition:
  2. Over 400 properties have been physically removed from the 100-year floodplain.
  3. Numerous residents and businesses in the original floodplain will be saving the annual costs of flood insurance.
  4. The Town will be allowed to develop open space initiatives in the area of the floodplain without costly and time-consuming restrictions.
  5. The partnerships developed between individuals and agencies continue to benefit all.
  6. Improved channel conveyance was achieved at the Colorado Highway 71 bridge.

Project Cost 

The total project cost was $850,000.

Funding Sources

  • Community Development Block Grant funds of $225,000
  • Local Rail Freight Assistance Program Grant of $209,255
  • Fishing Is Fun Grant of $114,934
  • Transportation Enhancement Grant of $59,414
  • In-kind services of over $10,000 from CDOT to remove silt under the highway bridge
  • Over $75,000 of in-kind rail removal and re-installation
  • Perpetual easements from Mid-States Port Authority and Kyle Railways
  • $50,000 in cash from the Town of Limon.