Thursday, July 14, 2011

So Pittman Wash Really Does Matter to the Locals

What do you call this?

According to City of Henderson Public Works, it's apparently a big nuisance.

"Some of it is just ground water. The channel has eroded down to the ground water level," says Robert Herr, the Assistant Director of Public Works for the City of Henderson.

He says that erosion is coming dangerously close to sewer lines and has the potential to cause serious damage to the channel in the event of a hundred year flood.

"We have done analysis of different alternatives and they just don't pan out," says Herr.

Take another look at that video. Does that look like "just ground water" to you? Or does it look like a stream that some city engineers want to simply pave over?

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Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

I guess that's why so many locals turned out at last night's hearing.

"I think they're probably very surprised that we're all here," says neighbor September Ventura, speaking to the turnout.

Residents are concerned that the current stream that runs through the wash will be paved over and much of the vegetation removed.

"I'm very concerned about the habitat. I love the quail and the bunnies and all the other birds," says neighbor Pat Roberts. "I don't want to see another ugly concrete channel."

I was one of them. I paid attention to what city engineers were saying. I listened as they were building their case for concretization.

I then asked them one important question, a question they would continue to be asked all evening. "Have you considered the alternatives?" Interestingly enough, the only options they ever considered were a trapezoidal concrete channel and a rectangular concrete channel. So all along, the only options they've cared to look at are concrete and even more concrete.

Never mind that articulated concrete blocks may be cheaper and allow for the reintroduction of more native flora. Never mind that gabion upgrades may also be much cheaper and more efficient. And never mind that in Arizona, both Maricopa and Pima Counties have long managed to balance needed flood control with environmental responsibility and sensitivity to neighborhood needs for open space.

That's really all that local residents were asking the City of Henderson last night. We live in Green Valley, we regularly use Pittman Wash, and we don't want to see this great community resource vanish in a sea of concrete.

Last night, hundreds turned out on a warm Wednesday night to speak out. It's clearly not to late to make one's voice heard on this issue.

Mayor Andy Hafen:

Council Member Gerri Schroder (Ward 1):

Council Member Debra March (Ward 2):

Council Member Kathleen Boutin (Ward 3):

Council Member Sam Bateman (Ward 4):

And "like" Project GREEN on Facebook for continued updates on Pittman Wash and what we can do to save one of the last natural riparian habitats in all of Clark County.

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