This letter is in response to the article, “City: $10 million bond not enough to cover Flagstaff forest thinning” in AZ Daily Sun written on February 12, 2018.
As a proud citizen of the Flagstaff community, I am concerned that not only do recent articles inaccurately portray the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project (FWPP) as a “failing” project, I also feel that certain folks are celebrating this “failure” with a particularly disturbing level of enthusiasm.
Should we look at the FWPP as a failure without any successes? Absolutely not.
Have there been unforeseen and significant challenges with implementing this cutting-edge project and should we embrace innovative solutions moving forward? Absolutely.
There have been dozens of contracts that have been implemented successfully within FWPP, yet we are focusing all of our energy on one unsuccessful contract. I call upon my fellow Flagstaff citizens to not forget that our investment in FWPP will protect our community from catastrophic wildfires, post-fire flood impacts and a polluted water supply. On a community level, we have made the responsible decision to ensure a healthier and more sustainable future.
This initial $10 million investment will protect our community from $489 million to $986 million in damages. 4,200 acres have been thinned and our community is safer for it. Multiple partnerships have been created and $4.9 million in additional dollars have been leveraged.
Considering how vulnerable our forest and community will be to fire this year, please remember the $140 million wake-up call courtesy of the Schultz Fire.
Editor's note: In addition to the contract default, the city is $4.5 million short of covering the work planned in the Dry Lake Hills and Mormon Mountain.