Greenlee County Receives Funds from NRCS for Wallow Fire Recovery
BLUE, Ariz. August 4, 2011 – The community of Blue, Arizona is small, however the community support and neighborly actions are undeniable. With their land burned from the Wallow fire, the community strives to protect their homes and property from flooding, the newest threat to the area. To help reduce flooding and erosion damages, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is providing $185,646 of financial help to Greenlee County through its Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP).
Total project cost is estimated at $247,528. Seventy-five percent of the financial assistance is provided through EWP, and Greenlee County is providing the remaining 25 percent.. NRCS administers the EWP Program, which responds to emergencies created by natural disasters, such as wildfires and floods. Funding for the program is provided through emergency congressional appropriations.
The potential for severe soil erosion and accelerated water runoff exists after a wildfire due to the lack of plant material to stabilize the soil. NRCS and Apache County funded recovery projects earlier in July in the northern Wallow fire area, providing flood protection to the Alpine, Nutrioso, Eagar, Southfork and Greer areas. Greenlee County is now partnering with NRCS to protect the southern Wallow fire area. The total recovery funds provided by NRCS to Apache County and Greenlee County for the Wallow fire are approximately $587,718.
Greenlee County and NRCS staff assessed properties at risk of erosion and flooding damages. Based on the data gathered, Greenlee County selected eight properties in and around the Blue community to receive immediate protection. The county is responsible for completing installations within ten days of the funding being obligated. There are several treatments that will be used. Some of the most common are earthen and rock dikes, sandbags, concrete barriers, straw bales and channel clearing to assist in flood and erosion control.
Sandbags are a simple yet highly effective way to prevent or reduce flood water damage around your home. Properly filled and placed sandbags act as a barrier to divert moving water, surface drainage and sediment around, instead of through, buildings. Through this method does not guarantee a water-tight seal, it does provide effective protection in most situations. Click here to receive more information about sandbags and other flood and erosion protection methods..
NRCS is also providing conservation planning to farmers and ranchers who have been impacted or are in close proximity to areas that were affected by the wildfire. Conservation planning is a fundamental starting point for maintaining and improving the natural resources that support a productive and profitable agricultural operation. Following a natural disaster, such as a wildfire, conservation planning can help restore the production of the land.
Greenlee County determines the sites receiving EWP assistance for the southern Wallow fire area, due to their role as program sponsor. For more information about participating in EWP please contact Greenlee County Engineer, Philip Ronnerud, at (928) 865-4762. Contact your local NRCS field office in Safford at 928-428-5537for more information in receiving technical assistance on your property or visit www.az.nrcs.usda.gov.