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30 S. Nevada Avenue, Suite 502
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Phone: 719-385-5980
Fax: 719-385-5095
Contact: Stormwater
Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

City of Colorado Springs / Stormwater / Projects / Templeton Gap Floodway Project

Templeton Gap Floodway Project - Fact Sheet

Did you know that the Templeton Gap Floodway is more than just a drainage channel? It's actually a levee - the only levee in Colorado Springs. It starts just east of Union Boulevard and heads west to Nevada Avenue, eventually leading to Monument Creek (see attached map below).

A levee is an embankment constructed to contain flood flows. Levees are most often seen along the banks of a river to keep it from overflowing, but in the case of the Templeton Gap Floodway levee, it was built to divert flow from one drainageway to another.

Previously, water from the Templeton Gap area traveled down Shooks Run to Fountain Creek downstream of downtown Colorado Springs. A series of floods in the late 1800s and early 1900s caused significant damage and several deaths along this route and raised concerns about future flooding. Responding to community concerns, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built the Templeton Gap Floodway in 1949 to divert runoff away from downtown by carrying it west to Monument Creek.

The Templeton Gap Floodway is approximately 2 miles long and must carry an estimated 100-year flood flow of 13,500 cubic feet per second. It provides flood protection to over 3,000 properties and 5,000 structures.

The City of Colorado Springs owns the floodway and is responsible for its maintenance which has to meet certain standards under the Corps of Engineers Inspection of Completed Works program. These include items such as mowing and tree removal, including the roots which can damage the integrity of the levee, concrete repairs and filling of animal borrows. The levee has received a "marginally acceptable" rating primarily due to excess vegetation, especially root balls that must be removed. The City has completed some of the required actions to receive a “satisfactory” rating, but without funding from the Stormwater Enterprise, the remainder of the required maintenance work is not likely to be completed.  If an acceptable rating is not achieved, and the levee is damaged by a flood, the City of Colorado Springs would not be eligible for federal funding for repairs

After the disastrous failure of levees in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, more attention is being paid to levees and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has ramped up its efforts. Part of this effort will significantly impact the status of the Templeton Gap Floodway levee as FEMA is completing what is called the Map Modernization Program.

As part of FEMA's Map Modernization Program floodplain maps are being converted from paper to a digital format for distribution on the Web and all flood protection levees in the country are required to be certified. Certification requires an engineering assessment of the levees ability to perform as intended.  Without certification, owners of properties downstream of the levee could be required by their lenders to pay for flood insurance. Without certification annual insurance premiums could, collectively, cost property owners approximately $3 million per year.

Engineering analyses predict that much of the middle portion of the floodway (between Nevada Ave. and Union Blvd.) would flow full during a 100-year flood and could overtop in some areas. Since certification requirements include at least 3 to 4 feet of excess levee height above the 100-year flood level, additional capacity is required to get the levee certified. Also, overtopping could occur in the lower portion of the floodway downstream of Nevada Avenue.


The City of Colorado Springs was planning to use Stormwater Enterprise funding to address these deficiencies so the levee would continue to protect properties downstream and keep affected property owners from having to purchase flood insurance. With the elimination of the Stormwater Enterprise fee at the end of 2009 no funding source has been identified to complete the improvements which are estimated to cost about $4.2 million. A preferred alternative to correct the deficiencies has been identified and the project design will be completed, however construction will not be completed unless a new source of funding is identified.

Preliminary floodplain maps may be available from FEMA in the Fall of 2011.  When these maps are distributed each property owner will be able to locate their property relative to the new floodplain limits.  The Preliminary maps provide an opportunity for property owners to challenge the proposed floodplain limits if there is a technical error.  Approximately 6 to 12 months after the distribution of the preliminary maps the final maps will be distributed and used for floodplain administration and insurance rate calculations.  The need for flood insurance will be dependent on the specific conditions for each property.  Information about FEMA’s policies can be found at the FEMA web site at: and at:  Some savings in premium costs may be available by taking advantage of the FEMA "Grandfather" Rule as described in their FEMA NFIP Grandfather Rules document.  A Preferred Risk Policy can also provide discounted short-term rates.   You can also call FEMA at 1-888-379-9531.  Your homeowner insurance agent can probably help also.


Additional information about the Templeton Gap Floodway certification project can be provided by City Engineering, Senior Civil Engineer, Dan Bare at (719) 385-5037 or at email address The contact for FEMA's Map Modernization Program in Colorado is Thuy Patton at (303) 866-3441 with the Colorado Water Conservation Board or at


To view a map of the project, click on the .pdf icon below.
Templeton Gap Floodway
Templeton Gap Floodway
Templeton Gap Floodway Project
Templeton Gap Floodway Project