At yesterday’s Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Hearing examining the United States Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management’s spending priorities, U.S. Congressman Paul Gosar advocated for a coordinated multiagency effort to develop, fund, and implement a comprehensive short and long-term flood mitigation strategy in Coconino County.
The Congressman spoke about last year’s Schultz Pass Fire and the flooding disaster that has ensued, the current status of the county, city, and community’s disaster response efforts, and the federal government’s responsibility to assist in these efforts. In his questioning, Congressman Gosar emphasized the urgency of the situation and encouraged the federal government to devote necessary resources required to implement flood mitigation measures prior to monsoon season. Specifically, he requested Chief Tidwell and the U.S Forest Service take the lead in the federal government’s response to the crisis since the affected land is in Coconino National Forest.
After the Subcommittee Hearing, Chief Tidwell met with Congressman Gosar and they discussed the perilous situation facing residents in the Schultz Pass Fire area. Tidwell agreed to take time and visit the impacted area on Monday, March 28th while he is in Arizona and pledged to work with the community on a timely response. Gosar will continue to work closely with Tidwell to ensure that the needs of the local community are addressed.
“The federal government bears a responsibility, if not a moral obligation, to assist our community with flood mitigation and recovery efforts related to the Schultz Pass fire and flood,” said Gosar. “Critical work must be done beyond laying straw and replanting shrubs; mitigation projects on the national forest, such as diversion channels, retention basins, even water barriers constructed by the remains of cut burned trees, locked behind existing stumps are going to be necessary.”
“The U.S. Forest Service should partner with other federal agencies and state and local officials to develop, fund and implement a comprehensive flood mitigation effort that includes short-term and long-term measures on and off national forest system lands,” Gosar continued. “I appreciate U.S. Forest Chief Tom Tidwell’s affirmation of support for our community, his commitment to visit the affected area and see first-hand the critical work that must be done, and ultimately his commitment to ensure the Forest Service uses all of the resources it has at its disposal to respond to the situation in a timely manner.”
Paul Gosar is serving his first term in Congress as the Representative to Arizona’s First Congressional District. As a healthcare provider and small business owner, Gosar is focused on bringing jobs back to the district, reforming health care, reining in government spending and ensuring that his constituents are involved in the solution process. For more information, visit his website at www.gosar.house.gov/