Slope Management in Sky Islands (Huachuca Mountains)

The project that I will be working on for the next couple of weeks is the Unstable Slope Management Program (USMP) for Federal Land Management Agencies at Coronado National Memorial. This program is meant to assess slope stability transportation related issues on federal lands. Geoscientist-in-Park interns and I will be identifying, categorizing, and rating slope along roads and trails using the USMP protocol.

Field data gathering and observations will be recorded using the USMP rating form which includes parameter such as length, hazard, and erosion effects on the roads/trails chosen. To fully map out sites and spatial information, I will be doing GIS and data management, imagery analysis, and landscape photography to produce a full picture of the data gathered from the USMP program.

Narrow Road to Montezuma Pass in Coronado National Memorial.

In the arid Southwest, there are not many geomorphic agents changing the landscape throughout the year. The most erosive factor is rain during Arizona’s summer monsoon season. The monsoon season is marked by copious amounts of water in a short amount of time which leads to flash floods, debris flows, unstable slopes, and mud slides all which can damage roadways and trails. We will pin point areas that appear unstable to eventually assess slope treatments to prevent future failures from occurring.