Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Storm water, Arroyos, and Slope Stabilization Recommendations for Arid Lands"

Arroyo 41A Pre-Development
Our friend, Lois Balin, our Urban Wildlife Specialist, just shared with us a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recently released paper on arroyos: "Storm water, Arroyos, and Slope Stabilization Recommendations for Arid Lands". It's short and easy to read and should be read by engineers, developers, builders, city planners, parks and rec people - and people such as yourself who care about our mountains and neighborhoods. Especially now that we are in the midst of our monsoon season and have already experienced flooding due to poorly planned and managed sprawl, it would be wise to think about how we treat our arroyos in the future. City Council reps lust for park ponds. But park ponds don't do what arroyos can do if treated correctly. In upcoming posts, I'm going to be saying more about the flooding on the north-side of the Archaeology Museum/"Wilderness Park" grounds. This paper will give you some background as well as background any time arroyos and development are discussed. For now, some takeaway quotes (but please read the paper HERE):

"Traditional arroyo management using concrete walls, channels, and culverts, and building on floodplains creates unhealthy stream systems. Traditional methods are expensive to build and maintain and mostly lead to more problems while removing vegetation and wildlife."

"A holistic approach to channel systems must consider the vegetation as a key component. A 200’ buffer zone along arroyos would provide stability of the lands.  Vegetation has a huge influence on runoff, erosion, and sediment transport in arroyos.  Growth of vegetation protects the soil surface from erosion and crust formation, improves soil structure and macro-porosity by enhancing infiltration rates, and provides wildlife habitat."  

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