December 16 th 2008
The Honorable Mr. Richard Elias, Chairman
Chairman Elias, Members of the Board.
My husband and I are residents, taxpayers and community volunteers southeast of Tucson in Pima County . Additionally, I was the project manager for a recently released heritage tourism map of Arizona; The New Deal in Arizona: Connections to Our Historic Landscape.
One of the conditions for the Davidson Canyon Floodplain Use Permit is that it remain below 14, 520 square feet within an Important Riparian Area or Arizona Portland Cement would have to go in front of the Board of Supervisors for approval. To avoid this condition they have decreased the size the of the haul road through the mapped IRA from 50’ to 30’. The trucks will only be able to drive single file on the 30’ road, this means that they will have to wait on either side as one traverses the IRA through the Davidson. This leads to the question. How was such an important riparian area missed and what can we do now to fix the situation?
As the Project Manger for statewide mapping project that encompassed many different components, I understand how worthy pieces do get left behind. In the case of the area to be bisected by the Arizona Portland Cement Haul Road, it is almost as if the important factors to be considered when designating an area for Important Riparian Area Status were considered and then the road was placed there . It appears that Ground Zero for many important species that depend upon riparian habitat was overlooked in the process of surveying for Important Riparian Area.
Some high potential habitat models that are within the physical geographical curve that has been left out of the Important Riparian Area designation are as follows:
Mammals : Allen’s big eared bat, Lesser long nosed bat, California leaf nosed bat, Arizona Shrew,
Reptiles : Ground Snake, Sonoran desert tortoise, Giant spotted whiptail, Desert Box turtle
Amphibians: Chiricahua leopard frog
Plant: Huachuca water umbel
Other Important Features: Int. SW Riparian Deciduous Forest, Designated Shallow Water Area, Designated High Sensitivity, Archeologically sensitive zone.
Evan Canfield, Chief Hydrologist, Pima County Flood Control District made a site visit with Bill Zimmerman on July 21 st 2007 and made the following observation about the same area I have described:
The staff report is available online at the Flood Control District website. There is other additional mapping information available in this file that indicates there had been previous thought about this area’s designation, prior to previous citizen involvement.
Given the sensitive nature of the Davidson’s ecological, water and cultural balance, I hope you will give thought to the IRA designation in your decision and vote to revoke the Davidson Canyon Floodplain Use Permit.
Area in gold shows Important Riparian Area [IRA]
Areas of shallow groundwater that would be affected by mining and hauling operations