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Help Protect the Estes Park Community From Future Floods
Unfortunately, many more homes and businesses than previously thought are at risk of property damage and economic loss from future flood events.
The 2013 flood taught us that the 30-plus year-old flood data significantly underestimated flood risk, highlighting the need for new floodplain mapping.
The Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) recently conducted a flood risk analysis of flood-affected streams within communities most impacted by the 2013 flood event. Within Estes Park, this included the Big Thompson River, Fall River, Black Canyon Creek, Dry Gulch, and Fish Creek. The analysis used model simulations to determine potential flood extents based on the calculated flows from Estes Park's recent hydrology study. The analysis also used post flood topographic data and survey data collected between 2014 and 2016. The draft results of this analysis were presented at a May 30, 2018 public meeting in Estes Park. This allowed local stakeholders to get an initial view of what the results prior to FEMA's official review process. These results will be compared to the last study that was conducted by FEMA and is currently shown on FEMA's effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The effective FIRMs are based on studies done in the late 70s and early 80s. View the May 30, 2018 CWCB presentation and handouts.
Mitigation efforts made by the Town of Estes Park, business owners and residents can help:
Residents and businesses can help with flood mitigation by engaging in educational opportunities, providing feedback and supporting the community’s needs. They can also undertake mitigation and resiliency efforts on their own properties. See below for how to participate in community flood mitigation and techniques for floodproofing property.
Continue to visit this page for upcoming meetings and public outreach efforts. To provide critical feedback on the proposed stormwater utility please visit our Stormwater Master Plan webpage at www.estes.org/stormwater and take the survey linked at the top of the page.
Hydrology Study (complete): A scientific study to further understand flood flows. This data is crucial in making future flood mitigation decisions and provides data for new floodplain maps. View the hydrology study report
Silver Jackets (complete, results forthcoming): The Town is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers "Silver Jackets" program to conduct a flood risk assessment of downtown buildings to find the best flood mitigation opportunities, such as floodproofing.
Stormwater Master Plan (complete): A comprehensive plan that identifies potential stormwater infrastructure improvements that can help mitigate flood risk for the community. View the Stormwater Master Plan.
Downtown Plan (complete): A plan that lays a path to improve downtown flood resiliency, vitality, walkability and redevelopment. View the Downtown Plan.
View more tips and information for property owners
National Flood Insurance Program Workshop on Oct. 24, 2016
The Hydrology Study is a scientific study of Fall River, Black Canyon Creek, Dry Gulch and the Big Thompson River to further understand flood flows. This data will serve as the basis of flood mitigation projects, help the Town receive grants, and be used for the new floodplain maps.
The Town is working with an elite U.S. Army Corps of Engineers team known as the "Silver Jackets" to identify flood mitigation measures for downtown buildings. Through this program, the Silver Jackets will make recommendations for best flood mitigation measures, such as floodproofing, for these individual buildings. Study recommendations are not required to be implemented. However, doing so can reduce flood risk and future property damage, and may be beneficial when new floodplain maps are adopted.
Letter to downtown businesses about the program (pdf)
Video from May 9 Public Meeting
What is a 100-year flood?
The term "100-year flood" is used in an attempt to simplify the definition of a flood that statistically has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. So, a 100-year floodplain includes all areas that have a 1% chance of experiencing flooding in any given year. However, this doesn't mean that a flood will only happen once every 100 years - the frequency of flooding is all up to chance.
Is Estes Park’s flood mitigation program related to the Downtown Estes Loop project?
The Town of Estes Park, along with partners at CDOT and Central Federal Lands Highway Division, are studying the need for realignment of traffic through the downtown core. This initiative is not part of the Town’s flood mitigation program although some benefits may exist. To learn more, visit www.downtownestesloop.com.
Estes Park Flood Mitigation Overview (pdf)
100-Year Flood Handout (pdf)
Preliminary Floodplain Maps FAQ