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The Los Alamos National Laboratory Corrective Actions Program (CAP) planted nearly 10,000 willows in the Pueblo Canyon wetland in April to stabilize stream banks badly damaged by September 2013 floods.
Los Alamos and much of New Mexico experienced off-the-charts rains in September 2013 causing over $3 million in damage to monitoring gages, roadways and storm water control structures on Laboratory property.
Collaborating with Mother Nature to control sediment migration, CAP planted nearly 10,000 willows in April to stabilize the stream banks in the Pueblo Canyon wetland which was badly damaged by the floods.
The September floods produced a head cut, channels carved through land upstream from discharged water, of nearly 1,000 meters and severely eroded the stream banks of the Pueblo Canyon wetland.
The wetland functions as a catch-all stabilization system for sediment and contamination. If water continues to discharge through the head cut, that portion of wetland will die and no longer catch sediment.
Willow planting was the first phase of the recovery effort.
“Sometimes Mother Nature just needs a jumpstart to recover from catastrophic events,” said CAP Program Director Dave McInroy. “That’s what we’re hoping to accomplish.”
Pueblo Canyon is one of more than 130 sites where CAP is conducting flood recovery activities.