Flood Control District partners with Audubon for environmental restorationby Pima County News on Jul. 02, 2013, under Environmental Quality, Natural Resources, Pima County, Regional Flood Control District, Southern Arizona, Tucson
The Board of Supervisors approved on Tuesday, July 2, a new program that helps the Regional Flood Control District (RFCD) and the Tucson Audubon Society create and restore habitat in previously dangerous flood-prone areas. Together, they will develop and implement environmental restoration projects on land that RFCD has acquired through the Flood-prone Land Acquisition Program. Funding for the In-Lieu Fee program comes from the sale of environmental mitigation credits to public and private entities within Southern Arizona as part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 404 permit program.
“We are excited to launch this new program that makes sure mitigation funds collected in Pima County remain in Pima County,” says RFCD Director Suzanne Shields. “We’ve been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Tucson Audubon Society to create a program that uses mitigation funds locally and creates riparian habitat for birds and other animals from undevelopable flood-prone lands.”
To establish the In-Lieu Fee Program, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed a contractual document that defines the service area for environmental mitigation: the Santa Cruz River Basin, including the Rillito and Brawley Wash, with potential to extend the area to the San Pedro-Wilcox Basin. The document also identifies specific mitigation areas that include, but are not limited to, Sopori Ranch, Canoa Ranch, Upper Cañada del Oro Wash, the confluence of the Rillito River and Cañada del Oro Wash with the Santa Cruz River, the Santa Cruz River at Trico Road, Black Wash at Snyder Hill Area, and Pantano Wash confluence with Rincon Creek.
All sites complement the Pima County Multi-Species Conservation Plan. For each mitigation area, a site-specific plan will be developed to restore, enhance and/or establish and preserve aquatic resources using science-based development, maintenance and monitoring strategies. Each mitigation project will include a financial evaluation of total project costs to establish, manage, and maintain the areas; this cost will be reflected in the value of the mitigation credits to be sold.
Currently, a Canoa Ranch site-specific mitigation plan is being developed for approximately 100 acres along the Santa Cruz River. This site will provide compensatory mitigation needs for disturbance in the Upper Santa Cruz Sub-Basin. A second conceptual plan is being developed for Cienega Creek to serve mitigation needs in the Rillito Sub-Basin.