In a nutshell: Following a severe wildfire, recovery efforts can benefit from using "Engineering With Nature" principles to utilize existing materials on the landscape for slope stabilization, erosion control, and stream restoration. Learn about the successes and lessons learned with these techniques in Santa Clara Canyon, NM after the destructive Las Conchas Fire.
Presenter: Chris Haring, PhD, P.G., CFM, Research Physical Scientist with USACE-Engineering Research and Development Center
The Santa Clara Canyon in northern New Mexico suffered near total scorching during the Las Conchas Wildfire, a burn which drastically changed the environment and sediment stability of the canyon. After the fire, a 1% chance rain event exhibited a 400% increase in peak flow conditions when compared to pre-fire conditions due to extreme vegetation loss and subsequent soil instability. Since 2011, the Santa Clara Pueblo, Forestry Department has worked with partners to reduce flood hazard in the Pueblo by implementing Engineering with Nature principles: levee improvements, post-fire debris removal, integrating fish passage into the dams, contour felling on steep slopes, and constructing log and boulder structures to stabilize drainages and mitigate sediment transport and deposition. Managing wildfire recovery efforts by applying Engineering With Nature-Natural and Nature-Based Features (EWN-NNBF) principles has the potential to provide a wide range of Flood Risk Management (FRM) benefits to rural and urban settings while increasing co-benefits for the entire watershed. Co-benefits include economic, social, archeological, aesthetic, recreational and biological functioning habitat enhancements.
In this webinar, the presenter will discuss experiences gained and lessons learned that can be transferred to other areas within the Western US that experience wildfires and require FRM guidance on wildfire recovery methods.