Flood Level Marker, Boulder CO

Gilbert F. White Memorial Flood Level Marker project

Installing final level: Big Thompson Flood 1976

The flood level marker project started a few days after my father Gilbert White passed away at age 94 in Boulder, Colorado.  The Boulder City Manager and Molly Tayer, Community Facilitator discussed creating a memorial to Gilbert on the Boulder Creek path, to honor Gilbert’s many years of persistent urgings the City take precautions building in flood risk zones.   Boulder is one of the most flood prone cities on the Eastern slope of the Rockies.

The seed was formed earlier in the early 2000s. I often talked with Dad about ways I could contribute my artistic skills to flood education.  We agreed that  a visual form creating visceral experience of the projected 16-18 foot high potential flood levels in down town Boulder might be useful.   I built him a little model for a stacked glass and stone flood level marker that Boulder Creek walkers could stand beside, look up, and understand the magnitude of flooding.  It could also serve as a flood warning, and the signage would educate viewers to get to safety within the projected 45 minutes warning.

Dec. 2010 Flood Level Marker before  signage and landscaping

When, in 2006,  Molly skillfully organized a vibrant and diverse team of artists, scientists, community members and city officialscommittee to plan a Gilbert F. White Memorial, they suggested we use the model as a start for the memorial .  Within six months, the committee grew to 17 amazing members and the process began.  The flood plain managers on the team determined the 50 year, 100 year, 500 year and Big Thompson 1976 flood levels and we made glass sections that designated the levels.

As of Jan. 2011,  we are in the final stages,  fundraising for the final $10,000 for the interpretive signage and maintenance fund. We hope to have a dedication in May 2011.


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