U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich today announced that more than $6 million in federal relief funding will be awarded to the city of Alamogordo to clear out debris and sediment that flowed into Bonito Lake when monsoonal rains caused heavy flooding and runoff from the Little Bear Fire burn scar. The lake, used for drinking water and recreation, is owned and maintained by the city of Alamogordo but located in Lincoln County.
The funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will assist with the costs associated with cleaning an estimated 250,000 cubic yards of ash, silt, and partially burnt trees from Bonito Lake. In June 2012, the Little Bear Fire burned almost 45,000 acres, becoming one of the most destructive fires in state history. Many communities experienced heavy post-fire flooding as a result of the runoff from the fire burn scar.
“Bonito Lake is a vital source of drinking water for the city of Alamogordo and an important area for recreation. But the severe flooding caused by runoff over the Little Bear Fire burn scar has taken a toll on the community, which is still working to recover two years after the fire was extinguished," Udall said."This grant helps Alamogordo continue its recovery and restore an important natural resource for its residents. I'm very pleased that FEMA is able to provide additional resources to help the community clean up the lake.”
“These funds play a tremendous role in our restoration efforts, and in keeping downstream communities safe as recovery continues after the Little Bear Fire,” Heinrich said. “I’ve spent time with the Little Bear recovery team and local elected officials in and around the burn scar, and have seen firsthand that the impact of a fire like this extends far beyond the burned area itself — a damaged watershed has serious consequences for downstream communities. I’m glad this grant helps the community with much needed resources to address the impact of this fire on its water resources.”
The $6,100,602 in funding will be awarded directly to the state of New Mexico on behalf of Alamogordo, and is expected to cover 75 percent of project costs associated with restoring Bonito Lake through sediment and debris removal.
Information from: Office of Senator Tom Udall D-NM