Landslides and flooding as Utah's 'monsoon season' arrives early (+photos)
The Utah Department of Transportation placed riprap — blankets embedded with angular rocks — to slow water and use culverts to curb divert the flow of water, according to Kevin Kitchen, regional communications manager for region IV of the Utah Department of Transportation.
They will continue to wage a "constant fight with mother nature" until the vegetation can grow enough to slow the flow of water, he said.
"It really is a combined and concerted effort" between the forest service, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Public Safety, he said.
"The problem is that those mountains have absorbed about as much water as they can," McRae said.
"We're just praying that we don't get a major amount of water," McRae said.
If they do, he said, "we can try to do the best job that we can to direct it."
In the aftermath of a storm in Huntington Tuesday, debris covered about one and a half miles of highway on state road 31.
Worst locations were the same places affected in the flooding after last year's Seeley fire in the Manti-La Sal National Forest near Huntington. The riprap they placed last year washed out at mile 27.6 and the river that runs adjacent to the roadway is starting to erode under the road just past milepost 30. They have shut the road down until it is safe to pass.
It takes "a few years of good growing conditions" for a forest to be able to effectively manage runoff, Giraud said.
In the meantime, officials and residents need to watch and wait.
"Nature does regenerate. It may not regenerate on the time scale that humans want, but it definitely does happen," Giraud said.
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