The City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District in hosting a public meeting for the Rio Salado Oeste project Nov. 18 at the Rio Salado Audubon Center in Phoenix.
Attendees reviewed the proposal to create recreational areas, aquatic ecosystem restoration and environmental education opportunities near Phoenix.
“It was great turnout,” said Brian McDowell, environmental coordinator of the project and Los Angeles District subject-matter expert. “It was good to see a high level of engagement from the public.”
The project will create a continuous link between recreation and wetland areas, and riparian habitats, along the Salt River through Phoenix.
“The project is important to the community for its potential to link previous environmental restoration projects at Rio Salado and Tres Rios, restoring the stretch of the Salt River through the center of the city and providing both ecological and recreation connectivity,” said Michael O’Hara, an archaeologist with the LA District.
The project is slated to span eight miles and connect two joint City of Phoenix/Corps projects, totaling nearly 19 miles in the Salt River through Phoenix.
“The city is excited for the benefits this project can bring to our citizens and visitors by creating additional access to a restored desert ecosystem,” said Tricia Balluff, City of Phoenix environmental programs coordinator.
The public can provide comments by email to email@example.com or provide in-person comments at two upcoming meetings in Phoenix: 9 a.m. Dec. 2 in the Nina Mason Pulliam Audubon Center or 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Travis L. Williams Family Services Center.
“This project is in the early stages of development, so we are anxious to hear from the public on their vision for Rio Salado Oeste. What do they want to see in a restored river? What do they want to experience? We are looking forward to connecting with more people at the upcoming meetings,” said Balluff, an environmental biologist with more than 20 years of experience.
The next step for the project is to take the public’s input to inform future drafts of the project and help develop a working partnership with Maricopa County.
“We received a lot of meaningful input that we will use to inform the study,” Mc-Dowell said.