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The High Life in the Colorado River Lowlands: New McMansions in the Floodplain?


High-End Housing in the Lowlands of the Colorado River Floodplain

There is a brand of schadenfreude in this country that usually comes at the expense of wealthy people who do really dumb things with their money.
As it relates to a new McMansion community proposed on the Colorado River from the aptly named Kane Springs Preservation & Development LLC, we hope that we never have the opportunity to get a few laughs about high-end vacation homes flooded by the Colorado River near King’s Bottom Campground on Kane Creek Road. But when developers want to bulldoze ahead with plans to build in a floodplain, we have to shake our heads.
Our friend John Weisheit at Living Rivers has been birddogging this project, which is located just downstream of the uranium mill tailings remediation site (buyer beware) outside of Moab. As a river guide, Weisheit took the nation’s preeminent paleo-flood experts down the river to get a look at the flood record. John knows flood deposits when he sees them. Now he is telling state regulators to protect the rich from themselves. His clarion call: Remember the flood of 1862, which had flows more than double the 20th century highwater mark in the 1983 runoff.
Not if, but when:
The location of the proposed development is one that would likely feel the brunt of a major flood event that will one day come. Kings Bottom is an expansion bar caused by upstream narrowing in a bedrock canyon This increases velocity and the rivers ability to mobilize sand, gravel and driftwood – especially when the bedrock canyon widens and creates back eddies to accumulate and pile these materials. In other words it is a beach and beaches are for beach towels, not McMansions. 
The short of the fight now is this: Grand County, which had jurisdiction, was not going to issue sewer permits to the developers. To avert that roadblock, the developer, under the law, was able to create its own special service district to build a sewer system. The developer got Utah regulators –– the Division of Fire, Forestry, and Sovereign Lands and the Utah Division of Water Quality –– to sign off. But, in a last-ditch effort, Weisheit asked state officials to host an informational meeting to discuss the impacts of building in the floodplain.
Express your concern:
Please join us at Monday’s meeting to tell officials at DWQ and DFFSL to reconsider and deny this permit. Building in the floodplain is no laughing matter on the Colorado River.
DATE: Monday, November 27

WHO: Utah Division of Water Quality

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