County seeking public input on management of Santa Cruz River - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

County seeking public input on management of Santa Cruz River

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A section of the Santa Cruz River runs through Metro Tucson, and now the Pima County Regional Flood Control District and Sonoran Institute want your input on management strategies.

Since 2013, the 23-mile stretch of the Santa Cruz north of Grant Road has transformed into a remarkable natural and cultural amenity. Improvements to Pima County's wastewater treatment system have created a thriving river ecosystem, that has increased the amount of water naturally recharging the local aquifer, improved aquatic habitat, and enhanced public transportation and recreation opportunities along The Loop multi-use path.

However, the year-round flow of reclaimed water, coupled with seasonal flooding, causes wear and tear to the bank protection in that area. This requires the District to repair the bank protection more frequently so that it continues to protect public safety and property as well as serve as a community resource and attraction. To facilitate those goals and to better gauge public priorities, values, and concerns for the river, the Regional Flood Control District is developing a management plan for the Santa Cruz starting with the stretch from Grant to Trico Road.

"The Santa Cruz really has become a "Living River" again," Civil Engineering Manager Evan Canfield said. "Our work with the Sonoran Institute shows conditions changed dramatically for the better after the wastewater upgrades in 2013. We want to build on that success by finding out what people value about the river, what they know,where they go, what they want to see, what their concerns are, and what their priorities are."

To gather feedback on the public's priorities, values and concerns and to build a vision for the river, the Sonoran Institute is hosting a trio of workshops, each focused on a segment of this stretch of the Santa Cruz:

· Ellie Towne Flowing Wells Community Center, 1660 W. Ruthrauff Rd.
o October 10, 6 - 7:30 p.m. (Focus area - Grant to Ina Road)
· Marana Municipal Complex, 11555 W. Civic Center Dr., 2nd Floor Conference Room
o October 12, 6 - 7:30 p.m. (Focus area - Avra Valley to Trico Road)
· Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr. Library, 7800 N. Schisler Dr.
o October 18, 6 - 7:30 p.m. (Focus area - Ina to Avra Valley Road)

The public is invited to attend any or all of the sessions. To register and find more information on the workshops go to the Sonoran Institute event page sonoraninstitute.org/events/santa-cruz-workshops.  Details on the changing conditions of the Lower Santa Cruz River can be found in the 'Sonoran Institutes "Living River" report series sonoraninstitute.org.

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