Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project


Two environmental groups have filed objections to a forest-thinning project designed to protect Flagstaff’s watershed from wildfire and flooding. The groups say the plan would have negative effects on the threatened Mexican spotted owl. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports. 

Ryan Heinsius

After an environmental analysis and a public comment period, Coconino National Forest managers have outlined the details of the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, it’s designed to prevent the effects of wildfire and flooding from threatening the city’s water supply.


The Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project will be awarded $25,000 after receiving the most votes in an online contest held by a Washington D.C.-based conservation group.


The recent public comment period for the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project yielded more than 500 issues for managers to consider. As Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius reports, many local residents voiced concerns about how the large-scale forest-thinning project will be monitored.

Ryan Heinsius

The Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project is a major forest-thinning initiative set to begin in 2015. It’s designed to safeguard vulnerable areas near Flagstaff against wildfire and mitigate some of its most destructive after effects. In 2012, Flagstaff voters approved $10 million for the project and now the Forest Service has proposed four options for possible treatments, including cable logging, something never before done in the area. Arizona Public Radio’s Ryan Heinsius recently spoke with the project’s manager, Erin Phelps, and asked, “What exactly is cable logging?”