Lab, subcontractors help flood-damaged Santa Clara Pueblo

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LANL and a consortium of major subcontractors, including EnergySolutions and Frank’s Supply Company, teamed to help Santa Clara Pueblo this week as families there struggle with the effects of flooding caused by the Las Conchas Fire.

Two front-end loaders from EnergySolutions will help the Pueblo remove debris and mud from retention ponds and drainages. Without properly functioning flood controls, storm water simply flushes down canyon—taking trees, boulders, trash, and anything in its way.

During a tour Tuesday, LANL Deputy Director Ike Richardson and EnergySolutions officials were shown areas where raging waters left debris scattered across a wide area, just feet from Pueblo homes.
Matt Tafoya, with Santa Clara’s forest service, said residents are on standby to quickly evacuate if another heavy rain hits.

“Not everybody can rebuild,” Tafoya said. “This is our home since time immemorial.”

LANL provided two surplus office trailers, geographic information system (GIS) expertise, and computer consulting to help store the massive volumes of data. EnergySolutions is providing the heavy equipment and operators for two weeks.

The Las Conchas Fire burned large areas of Santa Clara canyon, leaving little or no vegetation to slow monsoon rains. Pueblo officials fear flooding will be a problem for up to three years.