The flood damage to critical infrastructure in southern Gila County resulting from the Telegraph Fire will cost $10.9 million to repair.

Assistant county manager Homero Vela shared this staggering projection with the Gila County Board of Supervisors at its Oct. 19 meeting, asking for BOS Chair Tim Humphrey’s signature on the documents needed to get approved funding. The expense is for only four of the most used and vulnerable sites: Russell Gulch, Six Shooter Canyon, Ice House Bridge, and Bloody Tanks Wash.

Officials toured the flood-prone areas on July 28. As a result of that tour, they identified 22 potential projects. The next step was to determine if the projects met the requirements of the Emergency Watershed Protection Program.

Seven projects were determined not to meet the requirements. The remaining 15 projects were prioritized on a number of factors, including cost-benefit, protection to the community, protection of private property, etc. It was from this review, the four projects were identified and submitted to NRCS for funding.

The four areas that meet the criteria for funding through the EWP program were Russell Gulch near the hospital; Six Shooter Canyon road adjacent to the creek both upstream and downstream of the concrete box culvert; Ice House Canyon wash upstream and downstream from the bridge on Albany Drive that is over the wash; and Bloody Tanks Wash through the Town of Miami.

The combined cost of the four projects is $10,973,373. The EWP program requires a 25% match from the project sponsor, Gila County. The county’s match is $2,743,343.25.

The work:

• Russell Gulch – sediment/debris removal, bank protection.

• Six Shooter Canyon – upstream and downstream stabilization, and bridge abutment protection.

• Ice House Canyon – bridge protection, upstream and downstream stabilization, and bridge abutment protection.

• Bloody Tanks Wash – restore hydraulic capacity with sediment/debris removal and channel stabilization upstream of Arizona Department of Transportation crossing in Miami; additional sediment/debris removal and channel stabilization downstream of ADOT crossing to restore hydraulic capacity.

Vela told the BOS the EWP program is time-sensitive. Projects need to be completed within a 220-day window once they are approved. The time will begin when NRCS receives the funds in its Arizona office. The funds are expected to arrive by the end of October.

Two of the projects, Bloody Tanks Wash and Ice House Canyon bridge protection, should be able to meet the 220-day timeline. The remaining two will require NRCS time extensions to complete. NRCS has been notified and is aware of the request.

NRCS has approved funding for the projects in the amount of $8,230,029.75. The county is in discussion with the state’s Department of Emergency and Military Affairs and Department of Forestry and Fire Management to finance its required 25% ($2,743,343.25) match.

However, if necessary, the county can contribute up to $548,667 to the projects, he said.

Contact the reporter at tmcquerrey@payson.com

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