News: Guard engineers helping prevent flooding in western Colorado
Story by 2nd Lt. Skye Robinson
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Soldiers of the 947th Engineer Company (Horizontal), Colorado Army National Guard, will be busy through mid-September helping their fellow Coloradoans prevent a disastrous flood on the Western Slope.
Members of the 1st and 3rd Platoon are helping local authorities construct a stormwater detention facility located on the main stem of Leach Creek, just west of the Regional Airport in Grand Junction, Colo.
The 27-foot-high earthen embankment will prevent flooding in local neighborhoods by capturing up to 250-acre-feet of water during storms and slowly releasing it back into the environment.
The facility will also include an outlet and spillway for controlled flow.
"The Colorado National Guard is truly a community-based organization," said Adjutant General of Colorado Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards. "This unit has proven its capabilities in combat, but it's really the lifesaving and preventative projects in our communities that keep soldiers in the National Guard for a career."
This civil-military project is part of the National Guard’s Innovative Readiness Training program. Civil-military IRT projects enhance unit training and readiness, while filling a community need that is not otherwise being met. The unit must maintain its readiness by performing realistic training, and IRT projects provide a meaningful outlet for that training and help connect National Guard units with the communities they serve.
"This particular mission is allowing us to touch on more than 50 percent of our mission-essential tasks and also make a big impact in Grand Junction," said 1st Lt. Eric Carlton, 947th commander. "Many of our soldiers also reside on the Western Slope, so this is also personal to us."
The Leach Creek stormwater detention facility is on Bureau of Land Management property. The Colorado Army National Guard is working in partnership with the City of Grand Junction, the 5-2-1 Drainage Authority and BLM.
Colorado Guardsman will return to Grand Junction in May 2013 to help complete the project.
Past Colorado Army National Guard IRT projects include tamarisk removal in Grand Junction, Colo., building a retention pond in Deer Trail, Colo., work on a dam and reservoir No. 1 in Fruita, Colo., and a boulder removal and hauling mission north of Durango, Colo.
In 2012 alone, engineers worked to finish the Archuleta County Fairground in Pagosa Springs, Colo., and installed culverts and improved roads in Cokedale, Colo.