Glenwood Canyon Update on Federal Assistance Requested by Colorado

August 18, 2021 - Northwestern Colorado

DENVER, Aug. 18, 2021: Today the State of Colorado provided an update to communities impacted by the devastating mudslides in Glenwood Canyon, including but not limited to those areas that were severely impacted by burn scars from last year’s Grizzly Creek Fire.  Specifically, a letter was distributed to the Colorado Congressional Delegation and county commissioners/mayors with Garfield County, Eagle County, Pitkin County, Mesa County, City of Glenwood Springs, City of Grand Junction.

The stakeholder letter outlined the priorities and the state’s progress towards maximizing federal funding to support Colorado and the Western Slope. 

The federal funding requests currently include:

  • Federal Highway Administration -- Emergency Relief Program Support

  • Stafford Act Support 

Our total initial request to the FHWA Emergency Relief (ER) program, subject to ongoing assessment of damages, recovery, and resiliency needs that will supplement and refine initial estimates, totals $116 million. Within 24 hours of receiving that letter, the Federal Highway Administration approved the quick-release request for $11.6 million. We are already putting those dollars to use for critical expenses like reimbursements for the emergency work to reopen the roadway last weekend, as well as for getting started with more permanent repairs to the roadway and as the situation unfolds we will provide a plan for alternative routes.

The damage assessment for non-roadway impacts is ongoing, and this assessment process is a detailed interagency effort that takes some time.  At this time, we are exploring several areas for pursuit of support pursuant to the Stafford Act.  These may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Damage to the Colorado River: Areas of the Colorado River are covered by immense debris and material that have impacted the flow of the River.  To that end, the Department of Public Safety, working together with the Department of Natural Resources, local river districts, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and others are assessing options for clearing debris and material in a manner that will restore river flow in a manner that protects the critical infrastructure in the canyon.   

  • Damage on both sides of the river including the burn scar area above the roadway:  Much of the burn scar is within the U.S. Forest Service jurisdiction on land far above I-70.  The forest service is exploring all options, including areas that may require additional rockfall mitigation and support accelerate revegetation where possible.

  • Fixing the Hanging Lake Trail: Hanging Lake Trail has incurred serious damage due to this event. We will ask the federal government to explore all options available to pay for this work to occur as expeditiously as possible.    

  • Support to Individuals and Small Businesses: The Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is working with the U.S. Small Business Administration to implement the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program.  

  • Regulatory flexibility: The Stafford Act Declaration can provide short term regulatory flexibility options that may be warranted with respect to supply chain issues.