Developing Fragility Curves to Assess Post-Wildlife Flood Risk in Ohkay Owingeh

Wildfires and post-wildfire floods have devastated Native American communities in New Mexico for the past 20 years, leading to loss of life, damage to infrastructure, and negative economic impacts. Because Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo is at risk for these post-wildfire flooding events, they have partnered with researchers at the University of New Mexico to assess this risk and enhance community resilience. Fragility curves are a widely used method of modeling flood risk to specific assets. Given the lack of flood damage data from Ohkay Owingeh, the typical method of constructing fragility curves using empirical data cannot be applied. Instead, existing flood fragility curves can be identified in the literature to represent the assets that are selected by Ohkay Owingeh. Then, these curves will be updated through structured expert elicitation with Ohkay Owingeh. By using this method, the curves are specific to the community’s needs and reflect the depth of generational knowledge available. These curves contribute to building community resilience in Ohkay Owingeh by informing the use of short-term flood defense strategies such as early warning systems and long-term flood defense strategies such as cost-effective pre-flood mitigation.