Plan to protect mountain community mired in red tape - 8 News NOW

Plan to protect mountain community mired in red tape

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MT. CHARLESTON, Nev. -- The monsoon season started off with a bang and the chance of storms and flash flooding will be hanging over our heads for weeks.

The burn area from last year's Carpenter 1 wildfire has changed the landscape on Mt. Charleston.

People living in the Rainbow Subdivision of Mt. Charleston say they've been watching the weather, waiting for the rain to fall in the wrong place and cause another life-threatening flood.

Many of them are aware a diversion barrier could have already been built to protect their cabins, but Clark County put a stop to the project.

Becky Grismanauskas barely had time to make it up the stairs to her deck before recording video of the flash flood. The water ripped through the community just weeks after the Carpenter 1 fire.

“Unbelievable to me, I’d never seen anything like that,” Grismanauskas, who is a Mt. Charleston Town Board member, said.

The burned area did nothing to soak up monsoon rainfall. There was no vegetation to hold it back.

Grismanauskas knew she would not have survived, if she was caught in it.

“You could see the power of what that water did, with the little bit of water at that time. The whole force of that flood had not hit yet,” Grismanauskas said.

Soil experts determined flooding would be an ongoing problem in that area for years. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed a 12,000-foot structure to divert water and debris away from the Rainbow Subdivision.

However, for months that project has been on hold.

“Somebody needs to do this now, somebody needs to get on this now, not next year when it's too late,” Grismanauskas said.

Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa says despite the barrier being federally funded, the county won't accept responsibility for it. The county would have to assume ownership after it is built.

“They want to design it and build it. It's not even on county land. It is on federal land. I think we can all agree the project is necessary. It just would be an unfair burden for county tax payers to accept all the liability,” Pappa said.

Grismanauskas says they were lucky no one was killed last September.

“Why they would want death and destruction? That doesn't make sense,” She said.

She says their luck could run out this monsoon season.

Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa says the county is still trying to come to an agreement and get the diversion built, but he says it's likely the diversion won't be built before the end of this monsoon season.

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