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Redstone residents band together to face flooding concerns

 Stephanie Helfenbein funnels sand into a bag for flood mitigation in Redstone.
Hattison Rensberry
Stephanie Helfenbein funnels sand into a bag for flood mitigation in Redstone. Helfenbein is an organizer helping residents prepare for the potential impacts of runoff and high water levels near the town.

One of the draws for living in a place like Redstone, Colorado is the proximity to nature, and many families and businesses enjoy the scenery and recreation that come with living so close to the water. However, property and personal safety can sometimes be at risk due to the unpredictable yearly runoff, especially with changing climates. KDNK’s Hattison Rensberry stops by while cautious residents prepare for the worst.

Rensberry: That sound is sand, purchased by the Redstone Water and Sanitation District, being shoveled, pushed, and poured into large white bags. Recently, residents of Redstone, Colorado came together and made over 1500 bags to curb possible flooding along the Crystal River and now they are making even more. Some volunteers shovel the sand, while others hold bags under funnels made of PVC, 2-by-4s, and even an old traffic cone. One organizer is Stephanie Helfenbein, who lives with her family along the river. I asked her about some of the team’s makeshift tools.

Helfenbein: We searched up easier ways to do it, and we just cut eight inch PVC in 18 inch lengths and beveled an end and scoop 'em. And these ones, some people put the bags in them and use 'em to hold the bags to standing up while they're filling.

Rensberry: Have you guys done this before? Is this sort of a new practice?

Helfenbein: We've lived in Redstone for 17 years and this is the first time we've had to do this.

Rensberry: Okay. And normally who does this sort of thing?

Helfenbein: We haven't had to sandbag in a long time. And luckily the, the weather's been kind of mild, so the river's going up and down, but, um, we just didn't wanna be caught red-handed and of course, try to hurry to get this done. So we're hoping that we do all this work, we get the bag set and nothing happens."

Copyright 2023 KDNK. To see more, visit KDNK.

Hattison Rensberry grew up in Rifle, CO and earned her bachelor’s degree in graphic design and drawing at the University of Northern Colorado. She comes to KDNK as reporter and host after working on the design-side of news for the past three years. Hattie does theater locally, photography, needlecrafts, and also provides editorial design for the Sopris Sun.