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Areas Damaged By Floods Can Get Disaster Aid

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency is making disaster assistance available to several areas in New Mexico, including Bonito Lake.

The assistance will supplement local, state and tribal and local recovery efforts in areas affected by flooding over the summer, according to a FEMA press release.

Federal funding is available to state, tribal and eligible local governments, as well as certain nonprofit organizations, on a cost-sharing basis to perform emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by flooding in Lincoln, Sandoval and Santa Clara Pueblo.

New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management spokesman Nick Piatek said Monday the declaration will cover damage at Bonito Lake. He said a FEMA team had completed a preliminary damage assessment, which determined that the damage caused met the threshold for a presidential disaster declaration.

“A lot of the damages that were recorded from the preliminary damage assessment were from Bonito Lake,” Piatek said.

He said a FEMA team, along with state and local personnel, will conduct a full assessment of affected areas, adding that FEMA workers have already begun arriving in the state. He expected a schedule of applicant briefings to be available in the next few days.

“We really don’t have a full number,” he said. “We just know the damages recorded to date in all those jurisdictions involved exceed $13 million.”

Bonito Lake, which used to supply Alamogordo with about 15 percent of its raw water, was damaged by runoff caused by the nearby Little Bear Fire.

According to Gov. Susana Martinez’s office, the Little Bear Fire destroyed more than 250 structures and burned 44,330 acres. As a result, six watersheds, including Bonito Lake, were subjected to heavy silt and debris flow during monsoon rains.
— This article appeared on page C1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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