Feds work with NM pueblo on fire recovery

By Susan Montoya Bryan
Albuquerque, New Mexico (AP) October 2011

A northern New Mexico pueblo and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have signed an agreement that clears the way for development of a long-term recovery plan in the wake of the state’s largest wildfire.

The agreement between Santa Clara Pueblo and the agency allows for a three-year, $1.8 million assessment to be done on the tribe’s watershed.

The two partners were midway through a similar study when the Las Conchas blaze raced across more than 244 square miles of the Jemez Mountains this summer. Thousands of acres of the Santa Clara watershed were destroyed.

The agency’s tribal liaison, Ron Kneebone, says that forced the tribe and the agency back to square one.

He says the difference is there’s more emphasis this time on preventing flooding, not just restoration.