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Northern Colorado Flood Oral History Collection

 Collection
Identifier: WNCF

Scope and Contents

The Northern Colorado Flood Oral History Collection consists of materials dated 2013 to 2015. Thirty-one oral history interviews with professionals directly responsible for flood management and recovery conducted during the summer of 2014 comprise the bulk of the collection. Interviewees represent Boulder, Larimer, Morgan, and Weld counties. Interview materials include digital audio recordings, transcripts, photographs of informants, and interviewer notes. In addition, the oral history project produced a final report, PowerPoint presentations, newsletter articles, and a bibliography. The collection also contains local, state, and national newspaper clippings and a video of flooding in Estes Park, Colorado.

Dates

  • 2013-2015

Restrictions on Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection. However, this collection is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.

Restrictions on Use

Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.

History

For six days in September 2013, historic levels of rain fell over much of the Northern Colorado Front Range causing massive flooding and landslides that damaged homes, businesses, farms, and irrigation structures. Recognizing the significance of the flood, researchers at the Public Lands History Center at Colorado State University (CSU) interviewed 35 officials and professionals with direct responsibility for flood management and recovery during the 2013 disaster, hoping that knowledge gleaned from their experiences might assist managers during future flood events.

The conditions for the 2013 flood developed in early September as monsoonal air from Mexico arrived in drought-parched and fire-ravaged Colorado. Rather than moving onto the Western Slope, as anticipated, the air mass moved east, and historic levels of high-elevation rain fell over a wide geographic area from Colorado Springs to Laramie, Wyoming. All of Northern Colorado's watersheds from the mountains east to Nebraska experienced flooding. Flooding and landslides killed eight people, temporarily or permanently displaced thousands of people, and caused over $2 billion in damage to private and public property.

The 2013 Northern Colorado Oral History Flood Project was a collaborative effort between the Water Resources Archive at CSU's Morgan Library and CSU's Public Lands History Center (PLHC), funded by the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). The three entities recognized the value of capturing first-hand accounts of the 2013 flood. Based on the CWCB's interest, principal investigator Dr. Ruth Alexander and project coordinator Naomi Gerakios Mucci focused the project on people who managed emergency resources and directed recovery efforts rather than on flood victims; other oral history projects in Boulder County focused on victims. From June to August 2014, Gerakios Mucci and three research associates interviewed climate scientists, water and stormwater managers, municipal and county administrators, dam engineers, emergency managers, search and recovery personnel, disaster relief personnel, and park managers, many of whom were still dealing with the flood's aftermath. After recording and transcribing the interviews, Alexander and Gerakios Mucci wrote a report for the CWCB and gave several presentations to state water organizations. The interviews, reports, and associated materials were then transferred to the Water Resources Archive.

Extent

1.75 linear feet (1 document box, 2 flat boxes)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

For six days in September 2013, historic levels of rain fell over much of the Northern Colorado Front Range causing massive flooding and landslides that killed eight people and caused over $2 billion in damage to homes, businesses, farms, and irrigation structures. This collection contains oral history interviews, reports, PowerPoint presentations, newspapers, and a video documenting the 2013 floods and their aftermath. Most of the oral history interviewees were officials and professionals with direct responsibility for flood management and recovery.

Arrangement

The collection consists of 3 series stored on a server and in 3 boxes:

Series 1: Oral histories, 2013-2014

Series 2: Project files, 2013-2015

Series 3: Media, 2013

Acquisition

The Northern Colorado Flood Oral History Collection came from several sources. In February 2015, the Public Lands History Center at Colorado State University delivered the bulk of this collection--digital files and documents related to 31 interviews conducted as part of the 2013 Colorado Flood Oral History Project. In September 2013, Archive staff saved newspapers that covered the floods, and in November 2013, Greg O'Malia, a video producer from CSU External Relations, sent Archive staff a video of flooding in Estes Park.

Online Materials

Materials in Series 1, Series 2, and a video in Series 3 are available through the Colorado State University Libraries website. In the electronic version of this document, direct links appear in context.

Related Collections

Oral history interviews in the 2013 flood collection often reference the July 31, 1976, Big Thompson Canyon flood. Several collections in the Water Resources Archive contain slides, photographs, and documents concerning the 1976 flood, including the Papers of Maurice L. Albertson, the Papers of Everett V. Richardson, and the Records of Wright Water Engineers. Perhaps the most useful collection related to the 1976 flood is the David McComb Big Thompson Flood Collection.

Processing

Processing was completed in July 2015. Electronic files were saved on the Library's digital server. Duplicate administrative and audio files as well as reference files collected from the Internet were weeded. Correspondence setting up interviews was also weeded. Archive staff created a bibliography from the project's Zotero library. Newspapers and interviewee permissions files were housed in acid-free folders and archival boxes. Spelling and formatting mistakes in interview transcriptions were corrected, and standardized formatting was applied to all transcripts.

Title
Guide to the Northern Colorado Flood Oral History Collection
Status
Edited Full Draft
Author
Prepared by Clarissa J. Trapp and Naomi Gerakios Mucci
Date
Copyright 2015
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA
970-491-1844