Forest Restoration is Critical Initiative for Coconino County
Coconino County recognizes that wildfire and post-wildfire flooding are the greatest public safety threats to its residents, businesses, economy and financial solvency. The County also recognizes that a strong forest industry is key towards mitigating these threats. The County Board of Supervisors established the County’s Forest Restoration Initiative (FRI) through the Flood Control District to focus on many efforts to reduce these threats.
Forest Restoration Director
Coconino County Public Works
Mormon Mountain Post-Wildfire Watershed Study & Forest Restoration Update
September 2021: The FCD's contractor recently completed a study that includes hydrologic/hydraulic modeling and a sediment transport analysis to estimate the post-wildfire sediment and water quality impacts to Lake Mary due to a fire within the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP) footprint on Mormon Mountain.
The FWPP is a partnership effort between the State of Arizona, the City of Flagstaff, and the Coconino National Forest to help reduce the risk of devastating wildfire and post-fire flooding in the Rio de Flag and Lake Mary watersheds. Four watersheds, including Newman Canyon, Plaza de Toros Tank, Walnut Creek, and an unnamed watershed, comprise the north and west slopes of Mormon Mountain and drain directly to the Upper Lake Mary Reservoir. There is potential that a fire on the north slope of Mormon Mountain could cause debris flows and generate a significant volume of sediment that could impact the storage capacity and water quality of Upper Lake Mary. To review this study please visit www.coconino.az.gov/MormonMountainPostWildfireStudy.
The FCD also is partnering with the Coconino National Forest and the National Forest Foundation to conduct thinning treatments on up to 1,052 acres of steeper slopes in the Mormon Mountain area to help reduce the wildfire and post-wildfire threat to portions of the Lake Mary, Munds Park, and Mormon Lake watersheds, which supply water for the City of Flagstaff and Sedona. The County’s contribution of $300,000 will fund treatments on about 200 acres of the steeper slopes of Mormon Mountain, which will complement over $800,000 that the Coconino National Forest is contributing to complete the balance of this project. A contractor has been selected for this project, which is slated to begin this fall.
Munds Park FEMA Fuel Reduction Grant
In 2019 Coconino County, in support of the Pinewood and Highlands fire districts, submitted a grant proposal to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grants Program (HMGP) to fund wildfire fuel reduction in Munds Park. The initial grant was for $75,000; however, there is an opportunity to increase it to over $315,000. The FCD team is currently revising the application to include the thinning of private parcels within Munds Park and Kachina Village, in efforts to reducing forest fuels such as branches leaves, and pine needles on up to 80 acres. This reduction of fuels will assist fire departments in responding to wildfire threats within their respective communities. Coconino County’s Air Curtain Burner, which emits almost no pollution compared with open pile burning, will be used to dispose of much of the collected.