Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall toured areas of Santa Clara Pueblo (SCP) devastated by the 2011 Las Conchas Fire for an update on the status of clean up and restoration efforts.
Udall visited sites burned by the Las Conchas fire with SCP officials including Governor Walter Dasheno, Lieutenant Governor Bruce Tafoya and Forestry Director Michael Chavarria. Representatives from the offices of U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation were also on hand.
On the tour of the canyon, Udall saw sediment removal sites, two of the Pueblo's four ponds, high activity tributaries and debris flow.
"As we continue to experience devastating wildfires across the west," said Udall, "it is evident that the aftermath, flash flooding in particular, is causing emergency situations that are worse than the fire itself. The restoration efforts of Santa Clara Pueblo are ongoing, and I want to underscore the need for all of the federal agencies involved to work as a team with the Pueblo to make sure we provide maximum assistance."
The flooding that followed last year's fire washed out Pueblo roads, destroyed stream beds and transferred an estimated 388,000 cubic yards of sediment into SCP's four ponds, rendering them useless in the absorption of flood water. Much of the pueblo's efforts have focused on rebuilding roads and the removal of hazardous trees and sediment.
Udall also heard about a setback in the progress of sediment removal when a flash flood refilled the ponds with new sediment, underscoring the need for continued cleaning and restoration efforts to prevent future catastrophic flooding.