Snow and rain bring needed moisture, flood risks.
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Dear Friend,

Just when we thought the weather might start warming up, the wintery conditions continue with this latest snow storm.  The wet winter means the Upper South Platte Watershed is experiencing above average snowpack.  Having gone through our share of droughts, a strong snowpack and full reservoirs are always welcome.  But too much of a good thing can have its own consequences.

Depending on how the weather warms, we may see flooding from the snowpack as temperatures warm and send melted snow downstream.  A stretch of particularly warm weather can release a torrent of water as the snow melts.  We typically have the most runoff in May, so be mindful of potential flooding this month.  Rainstorms will add to this potential for flooding.  Rain falling on areas still covered in snow brings more moisture downhill, and this scenario is most often the cause of major spring floods.  

Burn scars, particularly the Waldo Canyon burn scar, will continue to increase the risk of flooding for years to come.  The already high risk for flash flooding in areas where narrow canyons and steep slopes funnel flows and intensify the velocity at which water moves downhill, is drastically increased when these areas are stripped of vegetation after catastrophic wildfires.  Especially along the Highway 24 corridor on the southwest edge of the Waldo Canyon burn scar, rainstorms above can cause sudden and powerful flash flooding and mud slides that spill onto the highway and into communities below.  

In addition, the extreme flooding along the Front Range
last year reworked many waterways.  Some streams carved out new paths for themselves when water overwhelmed their banks, and others were eroded down to bedrock.  Because of these changes, you should expect the way the water moves downstream and where it is dispersed to be different than what you have seen in the past.

Stay informed about changing weather and be prepared to head to higher ground in the case of flash flooding.  Use these resources to prepare for flooding and stay safe:
Thank you for your continued support.


CUSP Executive Director

CUSP protects the water quality and ecologic health of the Upper South Platte Watershed through the cooperative efforts of watershed stakeholders, with emphasis placed on community values and economic sustainability
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Learn more about PLT's Fire Ecology Institute for Educators

Fire Ecology Institute

Project Learning Tree is hosting a weeklong workshop in the watershed for educators to explore forest ecology and wildfire.  Sign up now!  
Dates: June 16-20
In: Florissant, CO
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