PHOENIX – The Tres Rios Phase III Flow Regulating Wetlands received the 2012 Crescordia award from the Valley Forward Association in the Site Development and Landscape: Public Sector category.
The Valley Forward Association initiated the Environmental Excellence Awards in 1980 to recognize outstanding contributions to the physical environment of Valley communities. The program is the benchmark for promoting livability, conserving natural resources and sustaining the valley's desert environment for future generations.
The Association received more than 120 entries for the 2011 competition. A professional panel of jurists identified a maximum of two Awards of Merit and one coveted first-place Crescordia winner per each of the sixteen categories.
“The award provides recognition and publicity to the great things that are being done on Tres Rios,” said Troy Olson, Resident Engineer for the District’s Roadrunner Resident Office. “Peers have acknowledged the vision and the implementation of that vision into a completed project that provides flood control, prime habitat and areas that can be utilized recreationally for fishing, bird watching and other ways. These awards reward the Corps and our partners for our efforts to execute environmentally friendly projects that bring communities together.”
The Crescordia, a Greek term meaning “to grow in harmony,” award recognizes exceptional physical, technical and social development in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Valley Forward awards program spotlights distinguished projects throughout the “Valley of the Sun” that demonstrate a high level of environmental commitment and contribute to the region’s overall sustainability. Since 1969, the Valley Forward Association has endeavored to bring business and civic leaders together to evoke thoughtful public dialogue on significant issues and to promote cooperative efforts to improve the environment and livability of local communities.
According to Olson, the success of the project was truly a team effort. Among the members of the award-winning team were Tom Luzano, David Pham, Van Crisostomo, Sandra Willis from Engineering; John Drake and Gwen Meyer from Project Management; Christina Chavez from Contracting; Joel Rodriguez, Project Engineer and John Silcox, a construction representative.
According to the write up for the award presented to the Corps and to Kiewit, the District’s contractor for the project, “Phase three of the Tres Rios program updated and reconfigured drainage systems and removed salt cedar in a 2.5-mile-long, 650-acre stretch of open water and wetland marshes at the confluence of the Gila, Salt and Agua Fria rivers. The project has created 44 acres of new open-water reaches, along with 10 acres of marsh habitat and 46 acres of riparian habitat.”
“The District is now three for three for the Tres Rios Program,” Olson said. “In 2010, Tres Rios Phase II Flow Regulating Wetlands won two Crescordias in the following categories: ‘Environmental Technologies - Public Sector’ and ‘Buildings & Structures - Industrial & Public Works.’”
With the award in hand, Olson said the work at Tres Rios is not done yet.
“There is one Reach left of Tres Rios Phase III, which is ‘Tres Rios Environmental Restoration Phase IIIC.’ Phase IIIC will cover the area from El Mirage Avenue west approximately one mile, which is upstream of the Agua Fria confluence,” Olson said. “The design for this Reach will be performed in-house. Construction will not take place until the 902 limit is raised for Tres Rios and funds are authorized.”
The current limit for the project is approximately $158 million. In order to continue construction, more money will need to be authorized along with the limit being raised by Congress on the project. Olson said there are two potential phases in the Tres Rios project that have not received funding yet.
One is on the south side on Gila River Indian Community land and the other is a recreation project on the existing area using federal funding, non-federal funds and betterment funds. The Phoenix Office of Cultural Affairs has provided $1 million for the project so far for incorporation of art into the design of the project. The goals of the recreation project would be to construct pathways, a ramada, seating areas, reptile haves and a bat cave at the overbank wetlands area. A construction contract may be awarded in 2013 for the recreation project.