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During the 45 major flood events, the substantially increased flood flows overwhelmed both natural channels on forest and existing flood mitigation in the communities causing widespread destruction.
The Coconino County Flood Control District (District) Board of Directors approved on December 6 the submission of applications for three separate grants to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for engineering and construction of flood mitigation measures in the Schultz/Pipeline Flood Area. Post-wildfire flooding is included in the Coconino County’s Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan, which is required to apply for FEMA grants.
The District is seeking approximately $26.6 million in funding from FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program for long-term flood mitigation measures in the Schultz/Pipeline Flood Area specifically impacting the Government Tank Flood Corridor, which includes the Doney Park area in Flagstaff.
The Government Tank watershed was one of the most highly impacted flood corridors given a 22-times increase in the level of floodwater post-wildfire. There is no existing flood mitigation in this corridor given the limited impacts from the Schultz Fire in 2010. The intense flooding this summer eroded natural channels and deposited thousands of tons of sediment and debris into neighborhoods downstream of the burn area along with damaging homes. The District is also submitting an application for this same project for FEMA’s Flood Mitigation Assistance Program grant.
The Flood Control District is also pursuing $3.1 million from FEMA’s BRIC program. If awarded, the funds would be used to engineer and construct drainage improvements to a culvert on Highway 89 impacted by the Schultz/Pipeline post-wildfire flooding.
Lastly, the District has applied to the Arizona Department of Emergency Management (AZDEMA) for a grant from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Post Fire. This application is for a $1.9 million grant to upgrade the existing flood channel within the Brandis Way Flood Corridor.
“The long-term flood mitigation needs for our communities affected by the Pipeline Fire far exceed the resources of the Flood Control District and the County,” stated Board of Supervisors Chair Patrice Horstman. “The extent of the County’s mitigation efforts will, to a large extent, depend on receiving federal and state funding. These grant applications are a first step to receiving this necessary funding. We will also continue to look to our Congressional representatives and Senators for assistance for the District to assist the neighborhoods affected by the catastrophic flooding.”
The FEMA grants are very competitive and there is no guarantee of funding. If any of the grants are awarded, the award(s) will return to the Flood Control District Board for approval to accept the grant(s) and fund the required 25% match. The FEMA grants can take several years to move through the grant award process, so the timeline is unknown at this time.
The District nor the County has the estimated $120 million needed to mitigate the flooding impacts in the Schultz/Pipeline Flood Area. Thus, the District is pursuing all grant opportunities and has already applied for two Natural Resources Conservation Center (NRCS) Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWPP) grants totaling more than $43 million. Those applications have been approved but the projects remain on the Emergency Watershed Protection Project wait list for Congressional action to fund all the projects on the EWPP wait list nationally.
To receive updates about Flood Control District projects and informational meetings, please email email@example.com.