If you go
What: Boulder flood preparedness open house
When: 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Casey Middle School, 1301 High St., Boulder
More info: bouldercolorado.gov
In the first of two open houses this week, officials with the city of Boulder and the Boulder Office of Emergency Management reviewed flood preparedness measures and recovery progress with members of the public Monday evening.
About 40 people gather in the City Council chambers for presentations from the city, the Office of Emergency Management and the Long-Term Flood Recovery Group.
In the hour before the presentation, those who attended could visit booths with information on flood mitigation planning, creek and infrastructure repair, grants and assistance, emergency alert sign-up, permits, building and grading, and water, sewer and storm systems.
Among the staff on hand to answer questions was Chris Meschuk, a planner with the city, who said the goal of this week's meeting is to educate the community about preparedness ahead of the spring runoff and to provide updates on the recovery from September's flood.
"Groundwater levels are high, and from everything we've heard, will be high through 2015," he said. "And then, because of the flood, the creeks have changed character a little bit, especially west of Boulder, in the mountains. We have lots of good data on how creeks act and how spring runoff works. You know, some of them have changed. We're doing our best to remove sediment and debris out of them."
"I think the No. 1 takeaway is probably to just be aware and be prepared," he added. "So educate yourself."
In his presentation, Emergency Management Director Mike Chard repeatedly emphasized that message, and went over the steps residents should take. That includes knowing an evacuation route, making an emergency supplies kit, getting flood insurance, observing changes in your environment and reporting any problems.
He also stressed the importance of knowing your neighbors — who might need help and who can help you — and working as a community. The same was reinforced by Meschuk during his presentation.
Meschuk added that boulderoem.org is the most comprehensive and reliable place for updates in an emergency, and that homeowners should adjust gutters, grading, window wells and sump pumps.
Though Chard told the audience, "I'm not here to scare you," he also stressed vigilance in reporting anything that "doesn't look right," such as new mountain scarring or leaning trees, to 911 or the Inquire Boulder app.
With the ground saturated and reservoirs at capacity, runoff from melting snowpack (currently at 169 percent to 258 percent of normal), thunderstorms and flood debris raise the risk of flash floods and landslides. Nonetheless, spring runoff will not lead to another 1,000-year event, Chard said.
Many of the residents were affected by September's flood and were looking for information specific to their neighborhoods and property.
John Young said he lost everything in his garage and has "spent a lot of money trying to resuscitate our lawn." He wanted to find out whether the city would dredge Boulder Creek on the edge of his property.
Davids Buchler, who lives near 55th Street and Baseline Road, said he had to pull out all the carpeting, padding and drywall after his basement flooded.
"What I'd like to find out is how to somehow mitigate that happening again," Buchler said. "And to see also about flood insurance."
Flood insurance was a topic of contention during the presentation, but Chard assured everyone that anyone is eligible.
Sue Anderson of the Long-Term Flood Recovery Group, a branch of Foothills United Way, was last to speak, with a brief reminder that the group is offering financial assistance to vulnerable populations and that skilled construction volunteers will be arriving April 12 to help with repairs and home rebuilds.
The group is also still fundraising and accepting volunteers.
The second open house will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Casey Middle School, 1301 High St..
Information on flood preparedness and recovery can be found at bouldercolorado.gov.