Friday, December 03, 2010

Governor asks for disaster declaration for Havasu Canyon

Gov. Jan Brewer formally requested President Obama to declare a disaster for the Havasupai Tribe following devastating floods down Havasu Canyon in early October [right, damage to main campground. Photo by Brian Gootee]. AZGS geologist Brian Gootee has been working closely with the Tribe to assess the damage and develop recovery and mitigation plans. The Governor's request noted that:

The request for a Major Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance is the result of flash flooding that occurred between October 3 and 6, 2010, in Havasu Canyon, a remote area deep within an inner gorge of the Grand Canyon. The flooding forced the evacuation of 143 tourists and
damaged infrastructure, including bridges, campgrounds and trails vital to tourism.

The main route leading into Supai Village is impassable, and severe damage to the trail prevents the delivery of mail and supplies into the village and threatens the financial livelihood of the Tribe. These impacts have caused the indefinite closure of Havasu Canyon to tourism.

A Preliminary Damage Assessment (PDA) found that the most costly damage affected water control facilities at four sites along Havasu Creek, which meanders through Supai Village and campgrounds. The facilities were installed to govern the flow of water and maintain the creek's
natural flow through the area.

Since tourism is the primary source of revenue for the Havasupai Tribe, any financial relief as a result of the approval of the Major Disaster Declaration would support repairs to impacted public infrastructure that poses a threat to the health and safety of members of the Havasupai
Tribe. The total estimated impact to infrastructure is $1,630,000.

Repairs to homes, businesses and private roads are not an eligible Public Assistance cost.

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