Local News

Air Force Academy cadets get dirty for flooding mitigation

AFA Cadets Mitigate Waldo Canyon Burn Scar

WELLINGTON GULCH, Colo. - Getting down and dirty to prevent flooding on the Waldo Canyon Fire burn scar. More than 40 Air Force Academy football players, cheerleaders and dancers took on a mitigation project on Tuesday.

One tool at a time, cadets were hard at work in the wellington gulch.

"I'm just glad to be part of it. Glad I can get out and serve the community a little bit," said Cadet Patrick Halloran, an offensive tackle.

"It's kind of scary to see that this was on fire and now I'm here standing in the same place that was burning up. It's kind of surreal," said cadet and fullback Broam Hart.

The Coalition for the Upper South Platte led the project. Deputy Operations Director Jeff Tienken said, "This is just fantastic. We've been prepping this site since last year with the hopes of a group such as this."

The Coalition for the Upper South Platte strives to protect our watersheds. Because of the waldo canyon fire all the ground material is now burnt or gone.    

Cadets were digging logs a few inches into the ground to slow down the water so that sediment doesn't clog the waterways downstream. It was all in an effort to prevent another flooding event like the September 2013 flooding on Highway 24.

"We can deal with the water down at the highway. We just can't deal with the sediment," said Tienken.

"It means a lot. I think it really shows people that there are people out there who still really care. If this were to happen to any of us, we'd want the same thing," said Courtney Dearth, cadet and Air Force Academy dance team member.

The football players were happy to offer up their brawn.

"They can move these logs like nobody else can. I've been saving this one particular project just for these guys," said Tienken.

"It feels good to be making a positive impact on that. Hopefully, it prevents some more flooding," said Cadet Hart.

If you'd like to volunteer for any mitigation projects, click here.

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