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City of Helena Response to objections on the Forest Service Red Mountain Flume/Chessman Reservoir project www.helenamt.gov 1Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013.

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Presentation on theme: "City of Helena Response to objections on the Forest Service Red Mountain Flume/Chessman Reservoir project www.helenamt.gov 1Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013."— Presentation transcript:

1 City of Helena Response to objections on the Forest Service Red Mountain Flume/Chessman Reservoir project 1Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

2 And ask these organizations to please withdraw their objections: Steve Kelly, Executive Director Montana Ecosystems Defense Council P.O. Box 4641 Bozeman, MT Tel: (406) Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013 Sara Johnson Native Ecosystems Council P.O. Box 125 Willow Creek, MT Helena National Forest Heather DeGeest, District Ranger FAX: comments-northern-helena- comments-northern-helena- Write “Flume Chessman” in the subject line Tell the Forest Service & your community that you support the Red Mountain Flume/Chessman Reservoir project: Questions? Go to or contact Sarah Elkins , Helena Independent Record FAX: Readers' Alley P.O. Box 4249 Helena, MT 59604

3 “The last thing you want to do in a healthy watershed is clearcut 490 acres and build new logging roads,” Steve Kelly, director of Montana Ecosystems Defense Council, said in a press release. “... Clearcutting Helena’s currently stable watershed to prevent the infinitesimally small, theoretical risk of sedimentation makes no sense either.” (italics and bold added) Objection language (Helena IR) project-near-city-water-source/article_38bc9186-2d7c-11e3-b2b bb2963f4.html 3Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

4 Red Mountain Flume/Chessman Reservoir Project 490 acres of treatment out of 128,000 acres (200 square miles*) of the watershed – less than ½ of 1 percent of the total watershed area Temporary ½ mile road, plus close & reclaim ½ mile of existing road Not a “theoretical” risk, recent incidents show dramatic examples of sedimentation following intense wildfire Not a healthy, stable watershed *http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2001/0059/report.pdfhttp://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2001/0059/report.pdf 4Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

5 Arizona Arizona: Getting Out in Front of Wildfire es/arizona/getting-out-in-front-of-wildfire.xml Fire in a “restored” forest generally mimics natural conditions, keeping to the forest floor, regenerating the understory, and benefitting the forest and the wildlife habitat it provides. mimics natural conditions “Only with proactive management can we get ahead of the catastrophic wildfire curve.” -Sue Sitko, Northern Arizona Conservation Manager 5Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

6 Cheesman Reservoir after the Hayman fire Photo courtesy of Denver WaterDenver Water Colorado, Denver’s Cheesman Reservoir 6Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

7 Colorado Cheesman Reservoir: This photo was taken after the Hayman Fire. It illustrates the benefits of forest treatment. Photo courtesy of Denver WaterDenver Water Denver, Colorado vs Helena, Montana Helena’s Chessman Reservoir: This photo was taken late We have an estimated 90% mortality in the area. – NOT STABLE 7Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

8 Red Mountain area, Montana 8Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013 Untreated Forest Service property Treated private property Photo courtesy of USFS Helena National Forest

9 Red Mountain area, Montana 9Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013 Untreated Forest Service property Treated city property Photo courtesy of USFS Helena National Forest

10 Red Mountain area, Montana 10Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013 Untreated section of the flume, Forest Service property Photo courtesy of USFS Helena National Forest Treated section of the flume, city property

11 Red Mountain area, Montana 11Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013 Untreated section of the flume, Forest Service property Treated section of the flume (foreground), Photo courtesy of USFS Helena National Forest 90% mortality rate, gray trees

12 Red Mountain area, Montana 12Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013 Treated city property(foreground), Photo courtesy of USFS Helena National Forest Untreated forest service property - 90% mortality rate, gray trees

13 Seven years after the Hayman fire: 2009, just downstream of Cheesman Reservoir. Following a big rain event, the soil continues to erode. The state has had to rebuild a road in that area because it has washed out twice with big rain storms. Colorado - Photos courtesy of Denver WaterDenver Water 13Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

14 Seven years after the Hayman fire: 2009, just downstream of Cheesman Reservoir. Following a big rain event, the soil continues to erode. Colorado - Photos courtesy of Denver WaterDenver Water 14Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

15 Colorado, Arizona & New Mexico Western U.S. Water Utilities Take Financial Responsibility for Reducing Watershed Wildfire Risk A major fire could shut down the two reservoirs on the Santa Fe River: Dredging the debris would cost between $US 80 million and $US 240 million It costs tens of millions of dollars to fight fires Added cost of shifting the water supply to groundwater, which must be pumped and treat An AmeriCorps crew performs bank stabilization work at the site of the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 15Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

16 City of Helena A major fire in the Tenmile would shut down Helena’s primary water supply. Costs would include: Millions of dollars to fight fires Dredging the debris, rebuilding the flume Added cost of shifting the water supply to the Missouri River Treatment center for an indefinite timeframe 16Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

17 “…Bonito Lake today is filled with silt and ash from the Little Bear Fire and is no longer viable as a drinking water source for the city of Alamogordo.” The odor of charred trees and rotting fish permeates the air. water-contamination-news-brief-bonito-lake-is- ruined-no-longer-safe-drinking-water-source- due-to-little-bear-fire/ New Mexico – Bonito Lake Montana – Scratchgravel Hills Following the Corral Fire in 2012, a flash flood hit the Scratchgravel Hills, causing blackened run-off in the area. May 30, Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

18 Bonito Lake north of Ruidoso is no longer viable as a drinking water source for the city of Alamogordo after flooding from the Little Bear Fire filled it with silt and ash. New Mexico – Bonito Lake (July 2012) floods-bonito-lake?searchType=ALL&compId= floods-bonito-lake?searchType=ALL&compId= May 26, Ten Mile Creek high flow, causing road damage through Rimini. Rimini, Montana - May more-flooding/article_047441a0-875f-11e0-9a cc4c03286.html more-flooding/article_047441a0-875f-11e0-9a cc4c03286.html 18Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

19 Colorado Historic Information – Denver’s Watershed From 1983 to 2002, 250,000 cubic yards of sediment had accumulated in the Strontia Springs Reservoir Following two fires and significant rainstorms, more than 1,000,000 cubic yards of sediment have accumulated in Strontia Springs Reservoir Denver Water has spent more than $26 million on water quality treatment, sediment and debris removal, reclamation techniques, and infrastructure projects 19Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

20 Resources Referenced Credit to the Ten Mile Watershed Collaborative Committee for their commitment and hard work in creating the recommendations document submitted to and approved by the Helena City Commission on June 17, 2009: _Final_Document.pdf Helena Independent Record, Objections to Project water-source/article_38bc9186-2d7c-11e3-b2b1-0019bb2963f4.html Save the Water Article, Drinking Water Contamination in New Mexico Following Little Bear Fire is-ruined-no-longer-safe-drinking-water-source-due-to-little-bear-fire/ KRQE News Brief, Flooding in New Mexico Following Little Bear Fire lake?searchType=ALL&compId= Helena Independent Record Article, 2013 Spring Flooding 9a66-001cc4c03286.html 20Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

21 Resources Referenced Fire and Rain: The One-Two Punch of Flooding After Blazes YouTube video, Scratchgravel Flooding One Year After Corral Fire NPR Article, Why Colorado Floods Were So Destructive destructive Historic Information – Denver’s Watershed National Geographic Article: Amid Drought, Explaining Colorado’s Extreme Floods change-drought-fires/ National Geographic Article: Colorado Wildfires Threaten Water Supplies park-hayman-threaten-water-supplies/ 21Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013

22 Resources Referenced, continued Effects on Water Quantity: Fire, Drought, and Water Stress Western U.S. Water Utilities Take Financial Responsibility for Reducing Watershed Wildfire Risk Arizona: Getting Out in Front of Wildfire out-in-front-of-wildfire.xml Where Does Your Water Come From? (Nature Conservancy Report) Objections: Montana Ecosystems Council /www/nepa/94938_FSPLT3_ pdf Native Ecosystems Council /www/nepa/94938_FSPLT3_ pdf /www/nepa/94938_FSPLT3_ pdf 22Hometown Helena, 10/31/2013


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