BAER Work Begins in Mineral Creek
Incident: Whitewater-Baldy Complex BAER Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation
BAER WORK BEGINS IN WHITEWATER AND MINERAL CREEKS
Silver City, NM June 24, 2012: In anticipation of flooding to occur as a result of the high severity burn scar in the headwaters of Mineral and Whitewater Creeks from the Whitewater-Baldy Fire, stream channel improvement work began on Mineral Creek on Saturday, June 23 and is scheduled to begin in Whitewater Creek on Monday.
BAER Team resource specialists have predicted through their assessments that peak water flows (run-off after monsoonal rains) in Mineral and Whitewater Creeks could be 2-3 times higher than usual in these drainages that experienced high severity burns. The increased run-off and the loss of channel structure pose a significant threat that flooding could impact downstream property and communities.
To help allow flood waters to flow through the stream channels, Catron County and the New Mexico Department of Transportation(NMDOT) have been working within the stream channels and under highway bridges to remove brush, widen channels, and repair damaged levees or dikes. The Gila National Forest began BAER treatments to go along with work accomplished by the county and NMDOT where the streams cross National Forest lands.
"We want the BAER treatments to fit in with all the other work that is being accomplished within the stream channels" said Gila Forest Engineer, Louis Canez.
On Saturday, a D-9 bulldozer was clearing brushing and moving stream gravels to widen the stream channel and reshape the stream edge to allow flood waters to slow and drop debris prior to flowing into the communities. Much of the same work will occur on Whitewater Creek below the Catwalk Recreation Area parking lot.