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Watershed district is asking Colorado Springs-area governments for project funds

August 10, 2016 Updated: August 10, 2016 at 4:50 pm
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photo - Fountain Creek flows brown west of Manitou Springs Saturday, July 7, 2012, after the water receded from Friday night's rain. Erosion after the Waldo Canyon Fire could produce dangerous flash flooding.  (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Fountain Creek flows brown west of Manitou Springs Saturday, July 7, 2012, after the water receded from Friday night's rain. Erosion after the Waldo Canyon Fire could produce dangerous flash flooding. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)  

Larry Small has been on a tour of sorts.

The executive director of the Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District visited officials in Pueblo County on Monday and stopped by meetings of El Paso County, Colorado Springs and Fountain leadership on Tuesday.

Small's travels aren't to say "Hello." He is asking municipalities from Palmer Lake south to the Arkansas River to include money in their 2017 budgets to help his ever-growing organization.

"Our workload has gone up significantly," Small said.

In 2013 the district had two projects. He expects at least six to be underway in 2017.

At the El Paso County commissioners' meeting Tuesday, Small brought a letter requesting almost $50,000 from the county. He asked for just more than $100,000 from Colorado Springs and almost $40,000 from Pueblo County and the city of Pueblo combined. Small said his organization will need $200,000 from local municipalities to help take care of administrative fees and grant-matching funds for upcoming projects.

"We can ask, but there is no obligation," he said.

The Fountain Creek Watershed and Greenway District is wrapping up its seventh year since Gov. Bill Ritter signed a bill creating the legal entity in April 2009.

Small's group is part of the Regional Resiliency Collaborative, formerly known as the Waldo Canyon Fire Regional Recovery Group. The district has played an integral role in helping acquire grant money and managing projects during the post-fire recovery and flash-flood mitigation along Fountain and Monument creeks.

The district had a budget of more than $1.1 million in 2016, up from about $786,000 the year before, Small said. He expects his 2017 budget to be "pretty close" to this year's. Most of the district expenses are covered by matching funds and grants from organizations like the Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Community Development Block Grant Program, and other state and federal sources.

Small said the district has not asked local municipalities for monetary help since 2013. He will continue his 2016 tour next week, soliciting funds from smaller towns and cities like Monument, Palmer Lake, Green Mountain Falls and Manitou Springs.

"That money will go a long way," he said.

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