Press Release of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer

For Immediate Release:
September 8, 2009  
Washington D.C. Office (202) 224-3553

Boxer Urges USDA to Take Steps to Prevent Erosion, Mudslides After California Wildfires  

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today sent the following letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack urging him to use resources from the Emergency Watershed Program (EWP) and other programs to prevent erosion and mudslides in areas affected by the recent California wildfires.

The text of the letter follows:

September 8, 2009

The Honorable Tom Vilsack
United States Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250

Dear Secretary Vilsack:

As you know, California is in the middle of another fire season. My appreciation goes out to all firefighters and the many dedicated staff who are working to protect lives, our public lands, and property – both within our National Forests as well as on adjacent private lands.

The recent fires in southern California, particularly the Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest, have captured the nation’s attention as efforts to control and extinguish the threat have proceeded. As we hope for the end of this threat, I want to raise the need to focus on the aftermath in areas that have been denuded of tree and brush cover. Erosion from steep hillsides will threaten water quality and often cause mudslides that damage property downstream and can seriously exacerbate flooding, as debris, mud and rocks clog flood basins.

I strongly urge you to quickly take steps to assure that resources from programs such as the Emergency Watershed Program (EWP) are used to do everything possible to reduce the damage that can occur when heavy winter rains fall on burned areas. Sadly, we have a long way to go before the fire threat for this season is over, but utilizing programs like the EWP can make a big difference in reducing damage and suffering to Californians living in communities damaged by wildfires.

In advance, I thank you for your attention to this important matter.


Barbara Boxer
United States Senator