Guide to the Northern Colorado Flood Oral History Collection

Prepared by Clarissa J. Trapp and Naomi Gerakios Mucci
Colorado State University Water Resources Archive
A joint effort of the University Libraries and the Colorado Water Institute
Copyright 2015 Colorado State University. All rights reserved.
Finding aid encoded in EAD Version 2002 by Clarissa J. Trapp, 2015.
Title: Northern Colorado Flood Oral History Collection
Dates: 2013-2015
Quantity: 1.75 linear feet (1 document box, 2 flat boxes) + 4.15 GB
Identification: WNCF
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.
Contact Information: Water Resources Archive
Archives and Special Collections
Morgan Library
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1019 USA
Phone: 970-491-1844
Fax: 970-491-1195
Email: library_dl_specialcollections@mail.colostate.edu
URL: https://lib.colostate.edu/water
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.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in the Colorado State University Libraries online catalog. Researchers seeking materials about related subjects, persons, organizations, or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Subjects:
  • Floods -- Colorado.
  • Oral history -- Colorado.
  • Emergency management -- Colorado.
Organizations:
  • Colorado Water Conservation Board.
  • Colorado. Division of Water Resources.
  • Colorado. Office of Emergency Management.
  • United States. Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Places:
  • South Platte River Watershed (Colo. and Neb.)
  • Front Range (Colo. and Wyo.)
  • Larimer County (Colo.)
  • Weld County (Colo.)
  • Boulder County (Colo.)
  • Morgan County (Colo.)
  • Logan County (Colo.)
  • El Paso County (Colo.)
Special Document Types:
  • Oral 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.
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.
The collection consists of 3 series stored on a server and in 3 boxes:
Preferred Citation

Northern Colorado Flood Oral History Collection, Water Resources Archive, Colorado State University.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Series 1: Oral histories, 2013-2014 (0.25 linear feet + 3.44 GB)

This series consists of 31 oral history interviews conducted during the summer of 2014 by researchers from the Public Lands History Center for the 2013 Colorado Flood Oral History Project. Most feature professionals who were directly responsible for flood management during and recovery after Colorado's September 2013 floods, though several highlight victims' experiences. Interviewees represent Boulder, Larimer, Morgan, and Weld counties. Materials for each interview include audio files, transcripts,interviewer notes, and, in most cases, photographs of the interviewee(s). Most of this series is digital, but paper copies of interviewer notes are stored in Box 1. Interview files are arranged alphabetically by last name or organization name.
Box Folder
1 1 Basch, Danny -- Facility Manager for Operations, Rocky Mountain National Park. 2014 July 29. 2 audio files, 1 photo, transcript, 8pp. VIEW
1 2 Bauer, Kallie -- Dam Safety Engineer, Colorado Division of Water Resources. 2014 July 25. audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 4pp. VIEW
1 3 Campassi, Kim -- resident of Blue Mountain neighborhood, Larimer County. 2014 August 21. audio file, transcript, 3pp. VIEW
1 4 Chard, Michael -- Director, Boulder Office of Emergency Management. 2014 June 27. 2 audio files, 3 photos, transcript, 6pp. VIEW
1 5 City of Fort Collins Floodplain and Stormwater Managers [Brian Varrella, Marsha Hilmes-Robinson, and Kenneth Sampley]. 2014 July 28. 2 audio files, transcript, 15pp. VIEW
"Fort Collins: Be Flood Ready" brochure located in file.
1 6 City of Greeley [Peter Morgan and Eric Reckentine] -- Emergency Manager and Deputy Director of Water Resources. 2014 August 18. 1 audio file, transcript, 6pp. VIEW
1 7 Cronin, Sean -- Executive Director, St. Vrain and Left Hand Water Conservancy District. 2014 August 8. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 9pp. VIEW
1 8 Crosthwait, John -- Morgan County Planning and Zoning Administrator. 2014 July 16. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 8pp. VIEW
1 9 Doesken, Nolan -- Colorado State Climatologist. 2014 July 3. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 7pp. VIEW
1 10 Dunning, Carolyn and Gilbert "Gib" -- residents of Drake, Colorado. 2014 June 27. 1 audio file, 6 photos, transcript, 10pp. VIEW
1 11 Fried, Eric -- Larimer County Chief Building Official. 2014 July 11. 3 audio files, 1 photo, transcript, 8pp. VIEW
1 12 Gavin, Mike -- Emergency Manager, Fort Collins, Colorado. 2014 August 1. 1 audio file, 17 photos, transcript, 8pp. VIEW
1 13 Gdovicak, Jason -- Volunteer Fire Chief, Glen Haven, Colorado. 2014 July 7. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 5pp. VIEW
1 14 Gease, Michael -- FEMA Natural Hazards Program Specialist. 2014 July 10. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 8pp. VIEW
Interviewee corrected transcript.
1 15 Gustafson, Randy -- Water Resources Administrator, Greeley, Colorado. 2014 August 5. 2 audio files, 2 photos, transcript, 8pp. VIEW
1 16 Holloman, Bruce -- Deputy Director, Colorado Office of Emergency Management. 2014 August 8. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 7pp. VIEW
1 17 Jones, Donald -- managing member for McFeeders Realty Appraisal and Management, LLC, Fort Morgan, Colorado. 2014 July 28. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 21pp. VIEW
Biography printed from Internet located in file.
1 18 Kelsch, Renda -- Team Lead, Morgan Team, Northeast Plains Flood Recovery Outreach. 2014 July 21. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 9pp. VIEW
1 19 McCormick, William "Bill", III -- Head of Dam Safety, Colorado Division of Water Resources. 2014 July 8. 1 audio file, transcript, 56pp. VIEW
"Report of September 2013 Little Thompson River Flooding and Big Elk Meadows Dam Failures" located in file; is mentioned in interview.
1 20 Mialy, Pat -- Emergency Manager, Loveland, Colorado. 2014 July 22. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 5pp. VIEW
1 21 Nettles, David -- Division Engineer, Division 1, Colorado Division of Water Resources. 2014 July 25. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 6pp. VIEW
1 22 Nilsson, Erik -- Larimer County Emergency Manager. 2014 July 17. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 5pp. VIEW
1 23 Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District [Jim Struble and Amy Johnson] -- Security and Emergency Management Coordinator and Water Resources Engineer. 2014 August 21. 1 audio file, 2 photos, transcript, 4pp. VIEW
1 24 Ray, Randy -- Executive Director, Central Colorado Water Conservancy District. 2014 August 8. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 3pp. VIEW
1 25 Rorabaugh, Skyler -- Executive Director, Estes Valley Recreation and Parks District. 2014 July 29. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 6pp. VIEW
1 26 Sandridge, Scott -- Parks and Grounds Superintendent, Evans, Colorado. 2014 July 24. 1 audio file, 1 photograph, transcript, 9pp. VIEW
1 27 Schantz, Brent -- South Platte River Operations and Compact Coordinator, Colorado Division of Water Resources. 2014 July 25. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 5pp. VIEW
1 28 Schneider, William "Bill" -- District 2 Water Commissioner. 2014 July 25. 1 audio file, 1 photo, transcript, 8pp. VIEW
1 29 Schoedinger, Tara -- Mayor, Jamestown, Colorado. 2014 June 30. 1 audio file, 1 photograph, transcript, 8pp. VIEW
1 30 Sturm, Chris -- Stream Restoration Coordinator, Colorado Water Conservation Board. 2014 July 23. 1 audio file, 1 photograph, transcript, 5pp. VIEW
1 31 Varrella, Brian -- Chair, Colorado Association of Stormwater and Floodplain Managers. 2014 July 28. 1 audio file, transcript, 15pp. VIEW
Resume located in file.


Series 2: Project files, 2013-2015 (16.8 MB)

This series consists of non-interview materials collected and created by Public Lands History Center (PLHC) researchers as part of the 2013 Colorado Flood Oral History Project. Documents include the PLHC's proposal to the Colorado Water Conservation Board, a bibliography of Internet sources gathered in a Zotero group library, principal investigator Dr. Ruth Alexander and project coordinator Naomi Gerakios Mucci's final project report to the CWCB, newsletter articles, promotional text, and PowerPoint presentations. All materials are digital files. The series is organized alphabetically by title.
Box Folder
0 s02001 2013 Colorado flood project abstract. 2014. 1 Word file VIEW
Text used to promote a November 11, 2014, presentation to the Colorado Association of Stormwater and Floodplain Managers.
0 s02002 2013 Colorado flood oral history, final report. 2014. 1 Word file VIEW
0 s02003 Alexander 2015 oral history project on 2013 flood WC newsletter. 2015. 1 Word file VIEW
0 s02004 CSU proposal, oral history of 2013 flood, final. 2013. 1 PDF file VIEW
0 s02005 Newsletter write up - flood. 2014. 1 Word file VIEW
Published in PLHC Summer 2014 newsletter.
0 s02006 Oral histories of the 2013 Colorado flood. 2014. 1 PowerPoint file VIEW
0 s02007 Oral histories of the 2013 Colorado flood, lightning talk. 2014. 1 PowerPoint file VIEW
0 s02008 Oral history project Zotero bibliography. 2015. 1 Word file VIEW


Series 3: Media, 2013 (1.5 linear feet + 711 MB)

This series contains a video of flooding in Estes Park, Colorado, and a collection of newspapers and newsclippings from September and October 2013. Greg O'Malia, a video producer for CSU External Relations, used his phone's camera to capture footage of the first day of flooding in Estes Park on September 12, 2013. The newspapers provide a sample of local, state, and national press coverage of Colorado flooding and clean-up. Newspapers are foldered alphabetically by newspaper title or geographic location and organized chronologically within folders.
Box Folder
0 s03001 Estes Park flood 2013. 2013 September 12. 1 video file VIEW
2 1 Boulder County, Colorado.
2 1 Boulder County Business. 2013 September 27-October 10. 1 issue
2 1 Colorado Hometown Weekly. 2013 September 18-24. 1 issue
2 1 Longmont Times-Call. 2013 September 27. 1 issue
2 2-3 Boulder Daily Camera. 2013 September 12-29 and October 4. 19 issues
2 4 Colorado Springs, Colorado.
2 4 The Colorado Springs Gazette. 2013 September 13-14. 2 issues
2 4 The UCCS [University of Colorado, Colorado Springs] Scribe. 2013 September 16. 1 issue
2 5 Colorado State University, Fort Collins.
2 5 The Rocky Mountain Collegian. 2013 September 16. 1 issue
2 5 CSU Life. 2013 October. 1 issue
2 6 The Denver Post. 2013 September 13-22. 10 issues
3 1 Estes Park Trail Gazette. 2013 September 13-October 4. 7 issues
3 2 Fort Collins Coloradoan. 2013 September 13-15, 18, 21-22. 6 issues
3 3 The Fort Morgan Times. 2013 September 12-14, 16-21. 9 issues
3 4 The Greeley Tribune. 2013 September 13-22. 9 issues
3 5 Loveland Reporter-Herald. 2013 September 13-24 and October 4-5. 14 issues
3 6 Lyons, Colorado.
3 6 Lyons Recorder. 2013 September 19-October 17. 5 issues
3 6 Redstone Review. 2013 September 18-October 16. 1 issue
3 7 Sterling Journal-Advocate. 2013 September 13, 16-21. 7 issues
3 8 USA Today Weekend. 2013 September 13-15. 1 issue