Sen. Udall, TU praise LWCF flood recovery help

Sen. Mark Udall speaks at TU’s Sept. 12 flood recovery event in Lyons, CO.

From left: Boulder County Commissioner Cindy Domenico, Colorado TU’s David

Nickum and Stephanie Scott.

For Immediate Release

Sept. 12, 2014

Contact: David Nickum for Trout Unlimited, 720-581-8589

Mike Saccone for Sen. Udall, 202-224-4334

Sen. Udall, Trout Unlimited, Lyons officials praise flood recovery efforts
New report details how Land and Water Conservation Fund made a difference

LyonsOn the one-year anniversary of floods that devastated communities along Colorados northern Front Range, Sen. Mark Udall, Trout Unlimited executive director David Nickum and local officials praised flood recovery efforts and highlighted the important role the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has played in natural disaster recovery in Colorado.

Today Trout Unlimited released a report, Land and Water Conservation FundA Source of Hope and Help in the Face of Disaster, that details how LWCF has played a vital role in local flood recovery efforts. Created by Congress in 1964 using royalties from offshore oil and gas revenue, LWCF conserves our natural resources and enhances outdoor recreation opportunities including helping towns like Lyons respond to natural disasters.

For 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has used a small fraction of royalties from offshore oil drilling to protect millions of acres, including parks, river access, and priceless open spaces for future generations, said U.S. Senator Mark Udall. The fund also played an essential role helping protect communities after the devastating Big Thompson Flood of 1976. Today its playing the same role helping communities like Lyons rebuild in the wake of the September 2013 flood. I will keep fighting to ensure Congress reauthorizes and fully funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund so it can continue to aid Colorados disaster-recovery work now and in the future, as well as preserving our nations priceless land and water resources.

Lyons was especially hard hit by the floods of 2013, sustaining flood damages totaling nearly $50 milliona crippling amount for a community that operates on a budget of less than $1 million. The flood-swollen St. Vrain River devastated not only the town of Lyons, but also most of the major park facilities and the popular St Vrain Corridor Trail. LWCF fundsleveraged with other grants and matching fundswill help Lyons to rebuild and extend the park and trail through the town, making connections to regional trails to Boulder and to Longmont.

The funds from the LWCF grant will be instrumental in giving us the resources needed to rebuild and extend the Lyons St. Vrain Corridor Trail, said Reed Farr, vice chair, Lyons Parks, Recreation and Cultural Events Commission. For many Lyons residents and visitors, this trail system is a main arterial serving as a major source of connectivity to neighborhoods, schools, parks, businesses and nearby Boulder County Open Spaces. Having the trail restored and improved will really help bring Lyons back together both physically and emotionally.

The Trout Unlimited report details past LWCF investments that helped avoid millions of dollars in property damage in the floods of 2013. Following the catastrophic 1976 Big Thompson flood, Larimer County used $1 million from LWCF as well as other matching resources, to acquire 80 key properties along the Big Thompsoncompensating families for their loss of homes while creating new park lands and recreation opportunities along the river canyon. This foresight avoided some $16 million in estimated property damage that would have occurred had those homes been rebuilt after the disastrous flood of 1976, while providing outstanding fishing opportunities for an estimated 200,000 angling days each year.

As our report shows, LWCF is an invaluable tool for communities wanting to enhance their outdoor recreation opportunities including in the face of floods and other natural disasters, said David Nickum, executive director of Colorado Trout Unlimited. Some 90 percent of Coloradans take part in outdoor recreationand we want them to know how important LWCF is to preserving our states quality of life.

Key findings in report include that the LWCF:

  • Has awarded almost 1,000 projects through Colorado Parks and Wildlife, totaling approximately $58 million.
  • Helps communities that rely on tourism get back on their feet when natural disasters strike and disrupt the roads, infrastructure and natural resources that support their local outdoor economies.
  • Offers communities a valuable tool to minimize the risk of increasing flood, wildfire and climate change losses while preserving natural resources and recreational opportunities such as angling and hiking.

Congress is in the process of reauthorizing the LWCF, and bipartisan voices are calling for full funding of the program. These case studies show why the LWCF program is indeed a wise investment that pays significant dividends for communities in enhanced recreation, economic vitality and quality of life.

Trout Unlimited is the nations oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North Americas trout and salmon and their watersheds. Colorado Trout Unlimited has more than 10,000 members representing 24 chapters across the state. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at