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The Cañada del Oro Restoration Project

Jamie Manser

Aerial photo of the CDO restoration site with water captured in basins. For the past several months, WMG's River Restoration Biologist Trevor Hare has been working hard to implement a restoration project in the Cañada del Oro floodplain. The property at the corner of La Cholla Blvd and Overton Road was a chicken farm at one point but was bought by Pima County using Floodprone Land Acquisition Program funding, and WMG was contracted to develop and implement a water harvesting and native plant restoration plan. We’ve excavated over 88,000 square feet of basins with swales between them, and installed three inflows from Overton Road and four curb cut inflows on La Cholla Blvd.

As you can see from the photo, it worked! We estimate that the basins infiltrated over a quarter million gallons of water during two large rain events in the middle of July. A youth crew from the Arizona Conservation Corps helped us install 40 one-rock dams in the swales to protect against erosion, then a community workshop was held on a sweltering Saturday morning where 15 awesome volunteers installed 100 native plants. The plan calls for an additional 170 plants and rabbit-proof fencing, so watch for more volunteer workshops this fall!