In September 2013 the Boulder area saw almost a year’s worth of rain fall in 5 days. Creeks raged, streets were flooded, houses were washed away or damaged. Four lives were lost in the county.
Yet it could have been so much worse. Smart spatial planning over many years kept buildings and people out of many floodplains, so raging creeks were able to flow over undeveloped areas at a far reduced cost to property and lives.
The City of Boulder alone has 42,000 acres (17,500 hectares) of Open Space – land that is set aside by the City, where no building takes place. The Open Space program has three goals:
Provide opportunities for outdoor recreation
Conserve local biodiversity
Provide outlets for flood mitigation.