THE PIMA WASH WATERSHED RESTORATION
The PoWWeR Project is modelled on two similar watershed management and restoration projects currently underway in the greater Tucson area: The Brawley Wash Watershed Plan and the more modest Esperero Canyon restoration efforts.
BRAWLEY WASH WATERSHED PLAN
Brawley Wash runs along the northwestern side of the Catalina Mountains, stretching from the foothills of Avra Valley along a meandering southeasterly trajectory towards Marana before turning south past the Picture Rock and continuing south towards the small town of Three Points along State Route 86. Brawley Wash is shallow and wide with numerous unnamed washes that feed into it. The wash is therefore prone to flood its banks and as population growth in Avra Valley and Marana have increased, so too have instances of property damage. Pima County is working on an 'Environmental Assessment' to develop, "a long-term plan to reduce flooding and erosion," with a "strong environmental resource focus."
Pima County has a number of evaluation areas including:
Source: https://webcms.pima.gov/cms. Accessed 04/10/2022
A more modest plan to mitigate invasive grasses and restore the watershed of Esperero Canyon is being undertaken by the Tucson Audubon Society. Volunteers visit the site and remove Buffelgrass and invasive Fountain Grass. However, the group has limited access as the site is located within a gated private community.
WHY PIMA WASH?
Pima Wash runs through several luxury home neighborhoods in the Catalina Foothills, then crosses Ina Road and Orange Grove Road and follows Oracle Road southwards to the Rillito River. Before connecting with the Rillito, it crosses from northeast to southwest near the intersection of River Road and Oracle Road. Between Rudasill Road to the north, and River Road, there is relatively little urban development. This site provides an opportunity to explore new watershed management techniques that include public involvement, while restoring a natural watershed. The goal is to bring some of the lessons learned from the Rillito bike path project to bear on a broad-scale watershed management project so we can capture some of the precious water that is otherwise being shunted from our roads and backyards.