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  • Agua Caliente ponds undergo renovations

    Jul 13, 2016 | Read More News
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    The flow of the historic warm water spring at Agua Caliente Park has been in a slow and steady decline. That’s why staff from Pima County’s Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Department and Regional Flood Control District are partnering to make the best use of a limited water supply and maintain an open water pond that supports wildlife habitat and can be enjoyed by park-goers.
    Agua Caliente renovation
    Toward that end, staff has begun renovating Pond 2 so it can hold water in anticipation of a more extensive renovation to Pond 1, which should occur in the next three to five years. Earth removal is expected to continue through the week of July 11. Additional irrigation and plumbing will take place the week of July 18. Workers hope to begin lining the pond by the end of July and complete the entire project by September.

    In 2000, the spring flowed at a rate of 80 to 120 gallons per minute. This year marks the fifth straight year with minimal or no measurable flow from the spring, according to a report prepared for county administration by Parks and Flood Control staff. 

    Specifically, the renovation of Pond 2 will:
    • Divide the single pond into two separate lined areas to reduce water loss by over 75 percent. 
    • Keep the area to the west of the island natural and unlined for seasonal wildlife habitat. 
    • Add drip irrigation on the island for some existing trees and shrubs for increased growth and shade. There will be ongoing revegetation of impacted areas during the renovation and for several years. 
    • Remove the spoil pile along the south side of the pond and revegetate the area with native plants. 
    • Install new asphalt to complete the perimeter path around the pond. 
    • Add compacted gravel pathways to access the island. 
    • Install benches and interpretive signs on the island as well as along the asphalt pathway. 
    • Create beach areas to allow safer proximity to the pond edge for education purposes. 
    • Remove the invasive California Fan Palms around the pond and on the island to  allow for improved viewing opportunities of the surrounding mountains and create new wildlife habitat planting options. 
    Water’s a precious resource, Colby Fryar, project manager from the county’s Regional Flood Control District, observed. “So we really want to conserve as much water as possible.”


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