It’s Wednesday, June 7, 2023.

Happy hump day, Boulder. It’s a beautiful one.

For today, I offer an update on Boulder’s current flood risk. With persistent rain reminiscent of the fateful 2013 September stretch, I was curious how the city’s stormwater infrastructure was holding up and if there was any need to worry. According to city officials, things are good, so long as the rain stays intermittent.

Not only has the rain not been nearly as intense as 2013, the intermissions between storms have allowed the ground to absorb some rainwater and give the rest a chance to make it through the city’s infrastructure before the next bout.

Also, as the City of Boulder updates its Community Wildfire Protection Plan, Colorado’s senators in Washington D.C. are pushing for greater protections for those who fight wildfires.

Enjoy the day.

— Tim, reporter

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Credit: Tim Drugan

Boulder’s stormwater infrastructure faces test as wet spring continues and flood projects in ongoing limbo

Officials worry that another flood might come before mitigation is in place to avert the worst repercussions. Continue reading…

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In other news

Clouds and rain, and maybe some sun peeking through

Partly cloudy also means partly sunny, so enjoy those rays that sneak through. Thunderstorms will scatter themselves about the afternoon with a chance of rain tagging along. The sun will set at 8:26 p.m. as we trundle towards the longest day of the year.

Chip leaving Downtown Boulder Partnership, says report

BizWest reports in a news alert: “After nearly four years — encompassing the entirety of an unprecedented global pandemic and its aftermath — in the leadership seat at the Downtown Boulder Partnership, Chip (yes, just Chip) is leaving the organization in July for a new opportunity in California.” More on this to come.

Boulder’s longtime municipal court judge leaving her role June 30

After 22 years with the City of Boulder and the Boulder Municipal Court, Judge Linda Cooke is stepping down at the end of this month, the city announced. Cooke played a key role in launching Boulder’s Community Court program, recognized for reducing the number of homeless people sent to Boulder County Jail. Civil rights advocates have long sought to transition way from relying on the legal system for behavioral health and homelessness services. 

Since the Community Court launched in October 2020, the Boulder Municipal Court and City Attorney’s Office have agreed to dismiss hundreds of nonviolent municipal charges, according to city officials. Dismissals are contingent on people taking steps toward securing certain benefits or documents for housing – like Medicaid and Social Security, or applying for a birth certificate and a state-issued ID. (Read BRL’s previous coverage of the court.) The municipal judge position reports to Boulder City Council. Councilmembers will consider next steps for hiring Cooke’s replacement, the city said.

Food tax rebate applications closing soon 

Qualifying residents of the City of Boulder can apply for a food tax rebate that will give back $99 for individuals and $302 for families from the city sales tax. Residents who qualify must meet financial eligibility guidelines and include those with a disability, those over 62 for all of 2022, a family with kids under 18 for all of 2022, and those who are unhoused and receiving services from a city-recognized homelessness services agency. The application closes June 30. Those who were approved in 2022 should have been mailed an application.

It comes as federal pandemic programs, like SNAP food benefits, revert to their pre-pandemic amounts, adding financial pressure to people in Boulder already living on the financial edge. Meanwhile, inflation has driven up the cost of everyday basic needs, such as food.

Update to Community Wildfire Protection Plan

As touched on in a recent conversation BRL had with wildland fire division chief Brian Oliver, the City of Boulder is updating its Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) for 2024. The goal of the plan is identify and deal with the dangers of wildfire in the areas where our flammable wildlands and urban development meet. With funding from Boulder’s newly passed climate tax, the CWPP will recommend ways to reduce dangerous fire fuel, communicate better with the public, improve firefighting capabilities, and make homes and other structures less prone to catching fire.

Colorado senators push for wildland firefighter support

Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, along with several other Western senators, have called on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs to address the recruitment and retention of wildland firefighters. The senators emphasized the need for action before temporary pay increases for over 16,000 federal wildland firefighters expire this September. They highlighted the increasing severity of wildfires — the annual acreage burned doubled in the past two decades. They stressed the importance of fair pay, support and recovery time for firefighters in protecting communities from catastrophic wildfires. (Read BRL’s award-winning coverage on Boulder’s own chronically underfunded wildland firefighting force.)

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🏭 Environmental Advisory Board meeting

The Environmental Advisory Board informs and advises the city council and staff on environmental issues. This week the board will be discussing the 2024 City of Boulder Energy Conservation Code. As part of the 2024 update, the city is expected at some point to propose ways to eliminate natural gas use. The current code has a goal of building new residential and commercial buildings with net-zero energy by 2031 (meaning on-site solar has to produce as much energy as a house consumes). The city wants to change this due to limited solar access. You can make your voice heard during the public participation portion of the meeting. Each speaker will get three minutes. Tonight, Wednesday, June 7, 6 to 8 p.m., virtual (Planning Board also heard an update on the 2024 energy code this week.)

🚧 Meeting to discuss alternatives to demolition

In December 2022, a demolition application was filed to demolish a house (built in 1887) and accessory buildings at 1918 Pine St. The Landmarks Board is meeting to discuss alternatives to the demolition. (A stay on demolishing the buildings expires late next month.) The buildings are over 50 years old, making them eligible for landmark consideration. Thursday, June 8, 1 to 2 p.m., on-site meeting at 1918 Pine St

🗑️ National Trails Day

Celebrate National Trails Day by helping clean up and repair the trail on Harper Lake in Louisville. The City of Louisville Open Space Division recommends volunteers to wear gloves and outdoor clothing. Leave your doggies at home. Saturday, June 10, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Harper Lake

Tim Drugan is the climate and environment reporter for Boulder Reporting Lab, covering wildfires, water and other climate-related issues for Boulder with a focus on explanatory and solutions journalism. He also is the lead writer of BRL Today, our morning newsletter. Tim grew up in New Hampshire and graduated from UNH with a degree in English/Journalism. Email: