The people of Colorado Springs have voted to fund Fountain Creek Flood Mitigation, officials reported to Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District.

 Mark Shea of Colorado Springs Public Works Department was early to the meeting with the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District with the good news that Colorado Springs voters have approved funding of the Fountain Creek Flood Mitigation Project by approving Ballot Issue 2A. The project has not been funded for several years, but some of the projects have been funded through the general fund, explained Engineer Richard Mulledy. The project is now the subject of litigation between Colorado Springs and the LAVWCD, so Attorney Bart Mendenhall urged both sides not to get into the territory of the lawsuit in progress.
Mulledy has been at the helm of the storm water project for two and a half years. Anthony Nunez, Director from Pueblo, asked Mulledy if the current 2A funding replaced the Enterprise Zone, which was originally designed to fund the project but voted out by the people of Colorado Springs. Mulledy said yes. The 2A mandate is intended only for capital projects associated with Fountain Creek Flood Mitigation, drainage maintenance over the 395 square miles of the Colorado Springs area, and the water quality program associated with it. Fees for litigation are not included.
The passage of the measure by a 54 to 46 percent vote of the people, Mulledy said, was “a heck of a turn-around.” Each individual resident pays $5 a month to the project, businesses and municipal activities pay $30 an acre, and condos must pay for each unit, or an $85 master meter. Mulledy’s staff has grown from four at the start to 66 today with 40 in the field on operation and maintenance — cleaning, mowing and care of infrastructure.
Some of the projects are lining and stabilizing drainage ditches and runoff streams, interactive projects with Pueblo, and detention basins, which must be drained in 72 hours. In the first five years of the project, Colorado Springs established 15 major detention basins. Director Willard Behm said maintenance was a major problem because of excess vegetation. Manager Jay Winters added, “Yes, you got into trouble about the trees.” Mulledy assured them maintenance is a big part of the project. Fifteen million dollars was encumbered to build storm structures already, with $8.7 million spent on projects. Basins will be built. Sediment is settled out in the basins and ponds, helping with the sediment problem downstream after Fountain Creek flows into the Arkansas River.
Dwight Proctor and Dave Donnell spoke up for the farmers who fear they may lose runoff water to the detention ponds. However, Mulledy assured him strict supervision of the ponds will make sure no water is retained longer than 72 hours, or 90 hours in the event of a 50-year or greater flood event. Mulledy said the engineered weir plates will help the water to flow freely while retaining the sediment. “The heart of the MS-4 bill is to see that detention does not hurt the farmers downstream.”
 Winner brought up sedimentation as the major cause of the North La Junta flooding problem. “Thirteen feet of sediment under the North La Junta Bridge,” said Winner. “More like 15 feet,” said Bud Quick, whose volunteer earth-moving has protected North La Junta several times. Earlier Quick had declared the problem of flooding in North La Junta will never be solved until the river is dredged and sediment controlled in the Arkansas River.
 At the end of the meeting, Rose Ward thanked the LAVWCD for its help in flood mitigation for North La Junta, and at the present time for helping them establish a special district that will enable North La Junta Conservancy District to help itself.