Up on Observatory Mesa, nestled above downtown Flagstaff in the Rio de Flag Watershed, Matt Millar monitors the progress of the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project’s forest thinning operations. For full story click here
A 10 million dollar bond will fund an innovative plan to protect the Coconino forest and the city of Flagstaff. The “Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project” seeks to dramatically reduce risk of catastrophic fire danger. Operation specialist Matt Millar gives an insight look at the advanced technology being utilized on the project. For video click title above or here:
Article posted on Circleofblue.org – “Western U.S. Water Utilities Take Financial Responsibility for Reducing Watershed Wildfire Risk.”
The following article was published in the Arizona Daily Sun on April 30, 2013
The Hardy Fire scorched southeast of Flagstaff in June of 2010, drawing dangerously close to several neighborhoods and forcing Flagstaff Fire Department officials to implement mandatory evacuations. Luck would have it that forested areas around the Little America hotel had been treated to diminish fire intensity, allowing firefighters to contain the fire that had, at one point, jumped across a nearly eighth of a mile Rio De Flag drainage. After several days, when firefighters had containment in their sight, the Hardy fire’s big sister peeked out as black smoke rising above mountains to the north— the Schultz fire had begun it’s run.
The days that followed serve as a sharp reminder of the devastation forest fires can present. Nearly 50 homes northeast of the city were damaged by the subsequent flooding and 15,000 acres of forest were destroyed. City of Flagstaff officials, realizing the necessity of forest treatments near the city to avoid a more disastrous repeat of the Schultz fire, began a public awareness campaign in 2012 that culminated in the passage of proposition 405 in November to allocate $10 million of taxpayer money on what is now known as the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP).
Voters approved the proposition with a near 74 percent approval rating. Unlike other locally sourced funding for similar projects around the nation, Flagstaff’s is the first to result from a direct citizen vote. Other projects rely on utility fees over time for preservation projects, whereas Flagstaff’s model allows for quicker implementation with immediate funding.
On April 22, 2013 various Federal, State and City officials and project supporters met at the Museum of Northern Arizona to sign a proclamation expressing their commitmment to support the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project. The link below will take you to a short video produced by the Arizona Daily Sun of the event.
The Flagstaff area has long been a national leader in forest research and management. As home of the nation’s oldest research forest, the ponderosa pine forests surrounding Flagstaff have been extensively studied and have become home to numerous innovative forest management and restoration activities. Our forests are integral to life in northern Arizona, and it is no surprise that area residents are keenly aware of and informed about the benefits healthy forests provide and the potentially devastating impacts that can result from unhealthy conditions. Citizen support for healthy forests has Flagstaff in the national spotlight once again with the November 2012 voter approved $10 million bond to support accelerated forest health treatments within two key watersheds on the Coconino National Forest and Arizona State Trust lands.
AZ Republic Op Ed 3-18-13Flagstaff voters overwhelmingly approved in November a bond question for the Forest Health and Water Supply Protection Project. Not your typical municipal bond, this initiative authorizes Flagstaff to issue $10 million in bonds to support restoration projects on U.S. Forest Service and sate lands just outside Flagstaff city limits.
Download the full article.