Flash Flood Damage
Here in the Jemez, this time of year is referred to as ‘monsoon season’. The rain is mostly welcomed, as it cools everything down and helps lower the potential for fires. The rain usually comes in the afternoons– some days really heavy– and may cause flash flooding. A little over a week ago, we experienced flash flooding that caused damage to the existing roads impeding vehicular access to certain areas. My supervisor and I took a trip up to that area to see what actually happened, and the damage was pretty bad. The source of watershed was from the surrounding mountains that had been burned during the previous year. I recently learned that normally the vegetation helps to absorb and slow the flow of water but when an area is burned, the water just basically runs off of it. Because the water can collect and glide much faster, it is much more intense causing more damage.
Although I will not be working on the reclamation of these roads, I thought it was an important aspect to share– this was unexpected and poses a significant inconvenience to the accessibility along in the northeast area of the preserve. The combined effect of two of these natural processes resulted in washing out this area completely. It’s going to take a significant amount of research, engineering, and planning to regain access to the roads beyond.
We continued on different route to the North Rim of the preserve to see if there was any additional damage and get a glimpse from the top- what an awesome journey. For those who are interested, I’ve posted additional images on our facebook page– click here to view.