The Town of Marana has tried to find a solution to the El Rio Preserve, otherwise known as “Lake Marana,” when the area floods to fix the issue, but also create a new amenity “that merges community recreation and nature preservation, public feedback is imperative.”
To best serve the needs of the public, the town is asking residents to complete a survey to help guide the future of the El Rio Preserve.
The El Rio Preserve is a 104-acre site that has served a variety of uses for many years. In the 18th century, Juan Bautista de Anza and his followers camped on this site during their journey from Southern Arizona to San Francisco. More recently, the Arizona Department of Transportation used this location as a gravel borrow pit for large infrastructure projects. Over the past several decades, disc golfers have constructed a series of targets throughout the site, and periodically, the flood waters from surrounding neighborhoods have created a seasonal lake, attracting a variety of migratory birds.
The El Rio Preserve is tucked into a pocket in the upper Tucson Mountains and functions as a collecting basin for both run-off from the mountain slopes and overflow from the Santa Cruz River. This confluence of geologic features affords spectacular views of granite and gneiss intermixed with the younger volcanic rocks that produce the red hues that distinguish these peaks. To the east is a wide open flood plain of the lower Santa Cruz River, which occasionally becomes a turbulent waterway after heavy rains.
ASSETS OF EL RIO PRESERVE
El Rio Preserve offers the Marana community a number of benefits which must be considered in any site plan.
Rich riparian habitat for nesting and migratory birds. More than 200 species of birds have been observed here.
Storm water retention basin that prevents flooding of nearby neighborhoods.
El Rio is one of the links in the chain of preserved riparian habitat along the Lower Santa Cruz River, including sites such as Sweetwater Wetlands and Kino Environmental Restoration Project.
Natural land features, like mounds and shade trees that support a variety of land uses and nature viewing.
Site is identified as a regionally important wildlife linkage.
Any added features must be compatible with the characteristics of natural habitat and wildlife linkage
The Town is developing alternatives for 25-year storm bank protection or a reinforced berm, which will:
Reduce mosquito problems by reducing flood frequencies and standing, stagnant water.
Reduce the amount of trash and invasive weed seeds that flow in during storm events
Reduce concerns of overbank flooding
Create an urban oasis for wildlife and residents
Preserve and enhance an important riparian area
Allow the Town to create an outdoor classroom space for local schools.
Improve the Town’s ability to perform routine maintenance at the site
The survey is open until Jan. 16 and can be found at http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3232366/El-Rio-Preserve-Project
For those wanting more information the Town has also set up a FAQ page at https://static1.squarespace.com/
Christmas Tree Recycling
Now that the holiday season is over, the Town of Marana is hosting two Christmas Tree recycling locations. You can drop off your tree at one of two locations from now through Jan. 15. The locations are at Ora Mae Harn Park and Crossroads at Silverbell Park.
The location at Ora Mae Harn Park, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road, is on the north end of the park near the Geasa-Marana Library.
The location at Crossroads at Silverbell Park, 7548 N. Silverbell Road, is also on the north end of the park at the north end of the Parking lot adjacent to the Wheeler Taft Abbett Sr. Library.
Celebrate the history and people of Marana at the annual Founders’ Day event on March 25. Meet your neighbors, make new friends, and participate in the parade.
The Town of Marana is now accepting applications to be part of the festivities. They are looking for people to participate in the parade, set up a booth or be a volunteer.
This year the event becomes the town’s fourth signature event, joining the Cotton Festival, Christmas Tree Lighting and Fourth of July Star Spangled Spectacular.
Sign up now to be a part of it at http://www.maranaaz.gov/founders-day-participants
Visit www.MaranaEvents.com for more event information.