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With President's Signature, Emergency Watershed Protection On Its Way To Colorado

Charles Willgren
Flickr - Creative Commons

President Obama signed a bill into law Tuesday that includes $65.5 million in Emergency Watershed Protection funding.

The money will help areas of Colorado damaged by last year’s deadly wildfires.

The funding for the Emergency Watershed Protection(EWP) program was part of a continuing resolution that will fund the government through the end of the year.

The EWP provides restoration support for watersheds damaged by natural disasters. Colorado Democratic Senator’s Mark Udall and Michael Bennet as well as Republican Congressman Cory Gardnersupported the funding and helped usher it through Congress and to the President’s desk.

“This is a big win for Colorado and represents a strong team effort from local and federal officials. Now our communities in Colorado will finally be able to complete vital recovery projects that will protect drinking water and watershed infrastructure,” Bennet said in a released statement. “While we continue to repair and rebuild from the devastation of last season’s fires, we must also turn our focus to preparing for what may be another difficult fire season. 

The funding is good news for areas scorched by the High Park and Waldo Canyon fires.  Greeley Water and Larimer County continue working to restore watersheds damaged by the High Park fire. Hundreds of acres of straw has already been dropped along the Poudre River in mitigation efforts that keep it unpolluted for now.

Both Larimer County and Greeley Water officials say federal funds would be welcome as the spring melt draws near and the potential for ash and soot runoff with melting snow could once again flow into the river.

"We need a strong federal commitment to be ready to respond emergencies quickly and to assist communities and victims as they recover," said Senator Bennet. "Homeowners can also use this time to take every possible precaution to help mitigate any potential wildfire damage to their property and to their lives.”

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