Trash bags from Santa Cruz River cleanup

Awesome Community Support of River Cleanup Efforts

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Trash bags from Santa Cruz River cleanup
Volunteers work hard to collect 400 bags of trash
A massive riverside cleanup on Saturday, January 27, overflowed with community spirit—much like the river had flooded part of Carmen with trash. Friends of the Santa Cruz River (FOSCR), along with numerous partners, organized the event. Among other complications, this task required creating footbridges to access two football-field-sized “bottle dams.” This phrase describes the plastic trash from all over our binational watershed that gets flushed down and sieved out of summer flood flows, along with lots of downed wood that accumulates in our beautiful riparian forests.

Check out this great time-lapse video of the volunteers at work!

We had to plan carefully to make this event, in semi-wild and rough terrain, possible and safe. Volunteers took up advertising for help, contacting likely participants, gathering snacks and water, and arranging all the logistics and some details you don’t think about until 2 o’clock in the morning. The Anza Trail Coalition (ATC) brought help to park the 136+ volunteers who showed up from everywhere to pitch in. Five landowners gave permission for us all to tromp across their properties. The ATC and several local ranchers brought ATVs and a backhoe to help shuttle supplies out to the pickers and filled bags and tires back. The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality not only provided bags and other supplies, but also covered our insurance for the day, and three staffers from Tucson spent the morning hauling trash out with the rest of us. Santa Cruz County sent landscape trailers along with their Emergency Services Director to help everyone stay organized and safe, and waived tipping fees at the landfill. The Tubac Fire Department was also represented in our Safety Officer; these two public servants made the cleanup remarkably smooth and blessedly free from accident. Both Rio Rico’s Interact Club and Nogales High School’s Green Club came out in force and attacked the trash piles like demons, along with many other students and their families. Hiking groups, birding groups, and neighbors picked, dragged and carried all morning long, leaving tired but gratified with the difference they had made.

The payoff was awesome!

We collectively removed over 200 tires and 2 tons of trash—mostly very light plastic. Our initial estimate is that about 400 contractor trash bags full were removed from the river environment and taken to the landfill. This trash will no longer pollute the river’s environment and will not be spread further north to sully other locations. As most folks were heading home, a few of us saw a large bird soaring overhead; we thought we saw a white head. A bald eagle was a fitting symbol for the day: the best of our United States, our community pulling together for the common good.  

Many thanks from to all our volunteers and supporting organizations for making the day a huge success! The river is visibly cleaner and healthier because of your efforts. YOU ALL ROCK!!

FOSCR

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Trash along the Santa Cruz River

Community Clean-Up January 27th

Trash along the Santa Cruz River

Community Clean-up of a Big River-borne Trash Pile
Sponsored by Friends of the Santa Cruz River

WHEN: Saturday, January 27, 9 AM to 12:30 PM

WHERE: Behind the Tumacacori Mesquite Sawmill in Carmen, between Tubac and Tumacacori, #2007 East Frontage Road

DETAILS: wear long pants, sturdy shoes, gloves, hat. Bring a reusable water bottle please!Warning: uneven terrain and other possible hazards! Not suitable for small children. We will supply refill water, trash bags, gloves, “grabbers” and other equipment, snacks, safety training and coordination.

PARTNERS: Anza Trail Coalition, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, Santa Cruz County, Tumacacori Mesquite Sawmill, and many caring individuals.

PARKING: You will be directed at the Mesquite Sawmill gates

CONTACT: Email us at foscriver @ gmail.com if you plan to help out; please provide cell phone number too if you have one OR you can RSVP at our Facebook event page.

IBWC Southeast Arizona Citizens Forum September 21 at 5pm

International Boundary and Water Commission
United States Section

For immediate release
September 7, 2017

Aid for Rural Drinking Water Systems and Sanitation Concerns to be Discussed in September 21 Public Meeting in Tubac

The United States Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) has scheduled a public meeting of the Southeast Arizona Citizens Forum for Thursday, September 21 at 5:00 p.m. at the Tubac Community Center, 50 Bridge Road, Tubac, AZ. Agenda items will cover state legislation to help small rural drinking water systems and a timeline of events leading to the partial breach of a manhole in a Nogales, Arizona sewer pipeline. The purpose of the forum is to promote the exchange of information between the USIBWC and the community regarding Commission projects and related activities in Pima, Cochise, and Santa Cruz Counties.

Amanda Stone, Chief Policy and Legislative Affairs Officer, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), is presenting on the significant bill amendment to House Bill 2094 – Small Water Systems Fund. Ms. Stone will share ADEQ’s new statutory authority to help small rural drinking water systems return to compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act requirements by providing another source of grant funding to implement system repairs and upgrades. There are approximately 50 small drinking water systems (serving 10,000 or fewer people) delivering water that contains contaminants at levels exceeding safe drinking water standards today in Arizona.

In other business, Sherry Sass, President, Friends of the Santa Cruz River (FOSCR), will present a video, Flirting with Disaster. The video is an encapsulated warning message distributed earlier this year regarding a sewer pipe, known as the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI), located in the Nogales Wash. The FOSCR is campaigning for a permanent fix to the IOI so the waters of the Wash do not become contaminated in the future.

Mr. Wayne Belzer, Environmental Engineer, USIBWC, will provide information on the partial breach of the IOI’s manhole 89 in the Nogales Wash. On July 25, 2017, the manhole became dislodged after heavy rainfall, resulting in a partial breach of the IOI and release of sewage into the Wash. A temporary bypass system has been installed to contain the sewage leak until a permanent repair is put in place. The bypass system, proposed solutions, and status of repairs will be discussed during the presentation.

In addition, Mr. Belzer will talk about future plans to repair the entire IOI. His presentation will include the history of the IOI, the planned use of Cast in Place Pipe (CIPP) technology, the status of the design that’s underway for the rehabilitation of the IOI, and projected completion of the design.

A complete agenda follows. Members of the public who would like more information about the meeting may call 520-281-1832 or email lori.kuczmanski@ibwc.gov.
News Media Contact:

Lori Kuczmanski
915-832-4106
lori.kuczmanski@ibwc.gov

Southeast Arizona Citizens Forum

Thursday, September 21, 2017
5:00 – 7:00 P.M.

Tubac Community Center
50 Bridge Road*
Tubac, AZ 85646

Agenda
  • Welcome and Introductions – John Light, Area Operations Manager, USIBWC, and Citizens Forum Co-Chair
  • Small Water Systems Fund – Expansion of Authorized Uses (HB2094) –Amanda Stone, Chief Policy and Legislative Affairs Officer, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
  • Flirting with Disaster, video presentation – Sherry Sass, President, Friends of the Santa Cruz River
  • Update on Plans to Repair the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI) Sewer Pipeline and Manhole in Nogales, Arizona – Wayne Belzer, Environmental Engineer, USIBWC
  • Public Comment
  • Board Discussion
  • Suggested Future Agenda Items
Directions:

From Tucson, take I-19 South, take exit #40 toward Chavez Siding Road, turn left onto Chavez Siding Road, turn right onto I-19 Frontage Road, turn left onto Bridge Road, turn left at Crosby Road, destination is on the right.
If you have a disability that you wish to self-identify confidentially that requires accommodation, please advise us ahead of time.

For more information, call 520-281-1832 or email lori.kuczmanski@ibwc.gov

Lori Kuczmanski
Public Affairs Officer
International Boundary and Water Commission
Office: 915-832-4106
Cell: 915-494-6027
Fax: 915-209-8927
lori.kuczmanski@ibwc.gov

STATEMENT OF CONFIDENTIALITY
The information contained in this electronic message and any attachment(s) to this message are intended for the exclusive use of the addressee(s) and may contain confidential or privileged information. You are hereby notified that any unauthorized use, disclosure, and/or distribution of the information is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient of this e-mail, you are prohibited from sharing, copying, or otherwise using or disclosing its contents. If you receive this e-mail in error, please notify the sender immediately by reply e-mail and permanently destroy along with any attachments without reading, forwarding, saving, or disclosing them.

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Nogales Wash

Nogales Wash and Climate Change

Article written by FOSCR Board member Ben Lomeli

Nogales Wash
Nogales Wash emerging from a tunnel in Nogales, AZ. Photo by Hans Huth.

Every storm that hits Nogales, AZ puts pressure on the deteriorating sewage pipe that carries 14 million gallons of sewage daily, mostly from Mexico, right through the small city of Nogales, AZ to the Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Plant (NIWTP) in Rio Rico, AZ.

This pipe, the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI), was constructed in 1971. Its path to the NIWTP lies mostly under the Nogales Wash. It is protected from erosive flood flows by the concrete-lined floor of the Wash and several feet of dirt.

Because of upstream urbanization and its deteriorated condition, the IOI is in danger of becoming exposed and bursting every year during heavy summer monsoon flood flows in the Nogales Wash. Additionally, the IOI continues to leak raw sewage into the groundwater aquifer system that provides drinking water for most of the community.

Friends of the Santa Cruz River commissioned a short video documenting the IOI problem to inform as many people as possible and to create a unified voice to urge federal decision makers to fund a proper repair for this failing infrastructure complex. This film can be viewed on the website.

The Nogales Wash is located in an arid-semiarid desert landscape. It lies within the Upper Santa Cruz River Basin in southeastern Arizona. There are two major precipitation periods in the typical southeastern Arizona water year. The first and most dramatic is the summer monsoon season (July–Sept), in which 50% of annual precipitation occurs. A secondary wet season during the fall and winter months is caused by Pacific frontal storm movement.

Potential climate change-related impacts are of concern for Nogales Wash (and the IOI) because all credible predictions are for warmer and drier conditions overall, but with less frequent but more intense storms.

Detention basins constructed in Mexico are too few, too small (appear to be designed for about a 25-year storm), and have quickly filled up with sediments. Many more are needed and all need to be regularly maintained. Watershed improvements are also needed to stabilize eroding soils and thus reduce excessive sediment flows. Revegetation of bare soils, water-harvesting, erosion control, retro-fitting of stormwater BMPs (Best Management Practices) and LID (Low Impact Development) approaches would all help reduce stormwater peak flows and excessive sediment transport.

Therefore, as long as the contributing watershed in Mexico continues to produce abrasive sediment-laden peak flows that far exceed the conveyance capacities of Nogales Wash, all our local stormwater infrastructure remains at risk. As long as the IOI remains underneath the deteriorated unstable and undersized Nogales Wash, the threat of IOI ruptures remains a reality that will most likely be increased by climate change.

NOTE: A version of this article was also published in “Canyon Echo,” Sierra Club Arizona”s Summer 2017 Newsletter. Click to download a .pdf of the article found on page 11.

Lake Powell, by Patti Weeks

Climate change is shrinking the Colorado River

NOTE: This article is reposted from TheConversation.Com originally posted on June 13, 2017 10.22pm EDT. Read the original article with links to additional information at: https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-shrinking-the-colorado-river-76280

Lake Powell, by Patti Weeks
Lake Powell, photographed April 12, 2017. The white ‘bathtub ring’ at the cliff base indicates how much higher the lake reached at its peak, nearly 100 feet above the current level. Patti Weeks

The nation’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead on the Arizona/Nevada border and Lake Powell on the Arizona/Utah border, were brim full in the year 2000. Four short years later, they had lost enough water to supply California its legally apportioned share of Colorado River water for more than five years. Now, 17 years later, they still have not recovered.

This ongoing, unprecedented event threatens water supplies to Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, Denver, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque and some of the most productive agricultural lands anywhere in the world. It is critical to understand what is causing it so water managers can make realistic water use and conservation plans.

While overuse has played a part, a significant portion of the reservoir decline is due to an ongoing drought, which started in 2000 and has led to substantial reductions in river flows. Most droughts are caused by a lack of precipitation. However, our published research shows that about one-third of the flow decline was likely due to higher temperatures in the Colorado River’s Upper Basin, which result from climate change.

This distinction matters because climate change is causing long-term warming that will continue for centuries. As the current “hot drought” shows, climate change-induced warming has the potential to make all droughts more serious, turning what would have been modest droughts into severe ones, and severe ones into unprecedented ones.

How climate change reduces river flow

The Colorado River Basin (USGC)
The Colorado River is about 1,400 miles long and flows through seven U.S. states and into Mexico. The Upper Colorado River Basin supplies approximately 90 percent of the water for the entire basin. It originates as rain and snow in the Rocky and Wasatch mountains. –USGS

In our study, we found the period from 2000 to 2014 is the worst 15-year drought since 1906, when official flow measurements began. During these years, annual flows in the Colorado River averaged 19 percent below the 20th-century average.

During a similar 15-year drought in the 1950s, annual flows declined by 18 percent. But during that drought, the region was drier: rainfall decreased by about 6 percent, compared to 4.5 percent between 2000 and 2014. Why, then, is the recent drought the most severe on record?

The answer is simple: higher temperatures. From 2000 to 2014, temperatures in the Upper Basin, where most of the runoff that feeds the Colorado River is produced, were 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the 20th-century average. This is why we call this event a hot drought. High temperatures continued in 2015 and 2016, as did less-than-average flows. Runoff in 2017 is expected to be above average, but this will only modestly improve reservoir volumes.

High temperatures affect river levels in many ways. Coupled with earlier snow melt, they lead to a longer growing season, which means more days of water demand from plants. Higher temperatures also increase daily plant water use and evaporation from water bodies and soils. In sum, as it warms, the atmosphere draws more water, up to 4 percent more per degree Fahrenheit from all available sources, so less water flows into the river. These findings also apply to all semi-arid rivers in the American Southwest, especially the Rio Grande.

Lake Mead / Lake Powell volume fluctuations
The combined contents of the nation’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, since their initial fillings. The large decline since 2000 is shaded brown for 2000-2014, our 15-year study period, and pink for the continuing drought in 2015-2016. The loss was significantly influenced by record-setting temperatures, unlike a similar 15-year drought in the 1950s which was driven by a lack of precipitation. Bradley Udall, Author provided

A hotter, drier future

Knowing the relationship between warming and river flow, we can project how the Colorado will be affected by future climate change. Temperature projections from climate models are robust scientific findings based on well-tested physics. In the Colorado River Basin, temperatures are projected to warm by 5°F, compared to the 20th-century average, by midcentury in scenarios that assume either modest or high greenhouse gas emissions. By the end of this century, the region would be 9.5°F warmer if global greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced.

Using simple but strong relationships derived from hydrology models, which were buttressed by observations, we and our colleagues calculated how river flows are affected by higher temperatures. We found that Colorado River flows decline by about 4 percent per degree Fahrenheit increase, which is roughly the same amount as the increased atmospheric water vapor holding capacity discussed above. Thus, warming could reduce water flow in the Colorado by 20 percent or more below the 20th-century average by midcentury, and by as much as 40 percent by the end of the century. Emission reductions could ease the magnitude of warming by 2100 from 9.5°F to 6.5°F, which would reduce river flow by approximately 25 percent.

Large precipitation increases could counteract the declines that these all-but-certain future temperature increases will cause. But for that to happen, precipitation would have to increase by an average of 8 percent at midcentury and 15 percent by 2100.

The American Canal
The American Canal carries water from the Colorado River to farms in California’s Imperial Valley. Adam Dubrowa, FEMA/Wikipedia

On a year-in, year-out basis, these large increases would be substantial. The largest decade-long increases in precipitation in the 20th century were 8 percent. When such an increase occurred over 10 years in the Colorado Basin in the 1980s, it caused large-scale flooding that threatened the structural stability of Glen Canyon Dam, due to a spillway failure not unlike the recent collapse at California’s Oroville Dam.

For several reasons, we think these large precipitation increases will not occur. The Colorado River Basin and other areas around the globe at essentially the same latitudes, such as the Mediterranean region and areas of Chile, South Africa and Australia, are especially at risk for drying because they lie immediately poleward of the planet’s major deserts. These deserts are projected to stretch polewards as the climate warms. In the Colorado River basin, dry areas to the south are expected to encroach on some of the basin’s most productive snow and runoff areas.

Moreover, climate models do not agree on whether future precipitation in the Colorado Basin will increase or decrease, let alone by how much. Rain gauge measurements indicate that there has not been any significant long-term change in precipitation in the Upper Basin of the Colorado since 1896, which makes substantial increases in the future even more doubtful.

Megadroughts, which last anywhere from 20 to 50 years or more, provide yet another reason to avoid putting too much faith in precipitation increases. We know from tree-ring studies going back to A.D. 800 that megadroughts have occurred previously in the basin.

Several new studies indicate that with warmer temperatures, the likelihood of megadroughts skyrockets in the 21st century, to a point where the odds of one occurring are better than 80 percent. So while we might have periods with average or above-average precipitation, it also seems likely that we will have decades with less flow than normal.

Average Temperatures in the Southwest 2000–2015 (NOAA)
Average Temperatures in the Southwest 2000–2015 (NOAA)

Planning for lower flows

March of 2017 was the warmest March in Colorado history, with temperatures a stunning 8.8°F above normal. Snowpack and expected runoff declined substantially in the face of this record warmth. Clearly, climate change in the Colorado River Basin is here, it is serious and it requires multiple responses.

It takes years to implement new water agreements, so states, cities and major water users should start to plan now for significant temperature-induced flow declines. With the Southwest’s ample renewable energy resources and low costs for producing solar power, we can also lead the way in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, inducing other regions to do the same. Failing to act on climate change means accepting the very high risk that the Colorado River Basin will continue to dry up into the future.


This article was reposted from TheConversation.Com Read the entire article with links to additional information at: https://theconversation.com/climate-change-is-shrinking-the-colorado-river-76280

Endangered Gila topminnow to combat mosquitoes, West Nile and Zika in Pima County

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From the Arizona Game and Fish Department:

Endangered Gila topminnow to combat mosquitoes, West Nile and Zika in Pima County: Fish used to reduce West Nile, Zika virus threat

Posted May 26, 2017
(*This release is issued jointly with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Pima County.)

 

Gila Topminnow
Gila Topminnow

PHOENIX — Pima County will have a new ally in the battle against mosquito-borne diseases this summer: endangered Gila topminnow.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) provided 500 of the native fish, which will be introduced into standing waters in urban county areas. The project is being done under the Department’s federal permits and an Endangered Species Act Habitat Conservation Plan between Pima County and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The three agencies are cooperatively spearheading this effort to reduce threats to public health in the county.

The project is part of an overall plan by Pima County Health Department, Pima County Sustainability and Conservation, the Phoenix Zoo and Arizona State University to use the federally endangered fish to target mosquito larvae and reduce the threat of mosquito-borne diseases, such as the West Nile and Zika viruses. This approach is also being considered for future deployment in Pinal County and hopefully other county governments around the state.

“This project is one of the first to use an endangered species for vector control of mosquitoes,” said Ross Timmons, AZGFD’s project coordinator. “Standing waters are prime breeding habitat for mosquitoes, and that can pose a serious public health threat to the community.”

In cooperation with AZGFD and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pima County will establish a holding facility where Gila topminnows can be stocked and raised. The fish will then be placed into abandoned urban sources of water, such as swimming pools, fountains and backyard ponds within the counties.

“This partnership provides Pima County with a smart, conservation minded tool to help us prevent mosquitoes and the diseases they spread,” said Dr. Francisco Garcia, Deputy County Administrator and Chief Medical Officer for Pima County.
Research over the past 20 years shows that Gila topminnow are just as effective at targeting mosquito larvae as the use of the exotic mosquitofish, which is a non-native species. While mosquitofish have been used with some success in reducing disease-carrying mosquitoes, their use has unintended consequences for native fish and their ecosystems when they escape confinement.
“This is a terrific example of how native species may provide benefits to human health and welfare, while recovering endangered species,” said Doug Duncan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fish biologist. “Giving our native Gila topminnow a leg-up against their mosquitofish competitors is a logical advance in their recovery while guarding against the spread of dangerous diseases.”
The Gila topminnow is a small, short-lived fish, with a general lifespan of less than a year. As their name suggests, topminnows spend the majority of their time close to the water’s surface feeding on plants, small crustaceans and small invertebrates, including mosquito larvae.

Historically, topminnow were the most abundant fish species in the Gila River basin from western New Mexico to southern and western Arizona. Over time, habitat loss and degradation brought the topminnow to the brink of extinction.

It was listed as a federally endangered species in 1967. Since then, AZGFD and its partners have worked to restore topminnow populations with the goal of delisting the fish.

For more information on topminnows, visit www.azgfd.gov/wildlife and click on “Nongame & Endangered Wildlife.”

Or Contact:
Nathan Gonzalez (623) 236-7230
ngonzalez@azgfd.gov
Public Information Officer
AZGFD

Jeff Humphrey (602) 242-0210
jeff_humphrey@fws.gov
Public Affairs Specialist USFWS

Julia Flannery (520) 724-7989
julia.flannery@pima.gov
Public Information Officer
Pima County

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“Flirting With Disaster”: How You Can Help!

We need to call for action!

Tell these contacts that you want to see the International Outfall Interceptor (IOI) fixed—and soon! Feel free to use the “Talking Points” below in your communications.

Senator John McCain:
https://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/casework-form (you can copy/paste points below onto this online form in “message” box)
Tucson office: (520) 670-6334

Senator Jeff Flake:
https://www.flake.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-jeff
(also an online form where you can copy/paste points below)
Tucson office: (520) 575-8633

Congressman Raul Grijalva:
https://grijalva.house.gov/email-raul
Tucson office: (520) 622-6788

City of Nogales Mayor Doyle:
http://www.nogalesaz.gov/Mayor-John-Doyle/
Office: (520) 285-5602

International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC)
Public affairs office: Lori Kuczmanski (915) 832-4106

 

Talking Points

  • Binational sewage pipe (“IOI”) through Ambos Nogales needs repair SOON.
  • If the IOI breaks, the whole population of Nogales, Arizona will be exposed to raw sewage and industrial waste since it is downstream of Nogales, Sonora and the IOI runs right through the city.
  • Plans are already in place for a partial fix (“cure-in-place pipe”); it only needs funding to proceed.
  • Nogales, AZ is a small, poor city that uses only a small part of the IOI; most of the sewage in the IOI is Mexican.
  • Nogales, Sonora has serious drainage problems that need IBWC intervention to fix so erosion damage to border infrastructure like the IOI is minimized.
  • The IBWC’s job is to protect our border environment, and Congress needs to fund it so it can do its job to protect Americans from real border threats.

Download a .pdf with all the details!

For more information, be sure to watch FOSCR’s video on this issue, “Flirting With Disaster.” You can also contact Friends of the Santa Cruz River at foscriver@gmail.com with any questions or updates.

 

Please let us know if you contact any of the above, and thank you!

FOSCR’s New Video: “Flirting with Disaster”

Flirting With Disaster: Eroding Sewer Pipe Threatens Santa Cruz River

The International Outfall Interceptor (the “IOI”) sewage pipe is in danger of rupturing, spewing raw sewage and industrial waste over the poor border city of Nogales, Arizona, and into the Santa Cruz River watershed. The Federal government needs to fix the problem, caused by years of neglect, overuse, and sediment flows largely from across the border in Nogales, Mexico.

To draw attention to the major international issue, FOSCR has commissioned a video, Flirting With Disaster.”

Critical Issues:

  • Binational sewage pipe (“IOI”) through Ambos Nogales needs repair SOON!
  • If the IOI breaks, the whole population of Nogales, Arizona will be exposed to raw sewage and industrial waste since it is downstream of Nogales, Sonora and the IOI runs right through the city.
  • Plans are already in place for a partial fix (“cure-in-place pipe”). They only need the funds released to proceed.
  • Nogales, AZ is a small, poor city that uses only a small part of the IOI and most of sewage in IOI is Mexican.
  • Nogales, Sonora has serious drainage problems that need IBWC intervention to fix so erosion damage to border infrastructure like the IOI is minimized.
  • It is the International Boundary and Water Commission’s (IBWC) job to protect our border environment. Congress needs to fund it so it can do its job to protect Americans from real border threats.

How You Can Help:

1. Please share this video with your friends and on social media!
2. Contact these public officials. Feel free to use the “Critical Issues” above as your talking points.

For questions or assistance, contact Friends of the Santa Cruz River at foscriver@gmail.com.

Press Release Highlights Plight of IOI Pipeline

McCain, Flake, McSally Introduce Bill to Unburden Nogales, Arizona From IOI Pipeline Costs

Under an existing agreement between the IBWC and Nogales, the city is currently responsible for a disproportionate percentage of the operating costs of the IOI. The Nogales Wastewater Fairness Act would transfer future capital costs to the IBWC while holding the city of Nogales responsible only for its equitable proportion of operation and maintenance costs that would be fairly split based on the city’s average sewage flow.

“At its core, the 1953 financial arrangement between Nogales and IBWC is outdated and unfair,” said Senator McCain. “Nogales residents should not have to pay for runoff and sewage not under their control. Our bill finally brings fairness to the people of Nogales who are dealing with out-of-touch bureaucrats mismanaging this crumbling infrastructure.”

“The burden of wastewater infrastructure operated pursuant to a U.S.-Mexico treaty should not fall disproportionately on the City of Nogales,” said Senator Flake. “This bill resets the cost-share to reflect the proper obligations of the IBWC.”

“Nogales has shouldered an unfair burden in paying for the operation and maintenance of this pipeline for too long,” said Rep. McSally. “I am happy to join Senator McCain today in introducing the Nogales Wastewater Fairness Act. This legislation will help address a longstanding problem and I look forward to working alongside him to get this passed through Congress and onto the President’s desk.”

“We are grateful for the tremendous support from Senators McCain and Flake and Congresswoman McSally on this effort,” said Guillermo Valencia, Chairman of the Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority. “The Greater Nogales Santa Cruz County Port Authority has for many years advocated for the urgent need to address the issue of the IOI and after trips to Washington, D.C., arranging numerous site visits and meetings with many stakeholders, we are extremely glad to see the Senator take the lead to provide a solution. This is an issue that impacts the quality of life of the residents of Nogales, Arizona. But it also has a direct impact on the lives of the residents of Nogales, Mexico, and the entire Nogales-Tucson corridor. The significance of this legislation cannot be overstated.”

###

View FOSCR’s video, “Flirting with Disaster,” to learn more about the issues with the IOI Pipeline.
Contact these public officials. Feel free to use these “Critical Issues” as your talking points.

Read the press release online.

Gila Top Minnow, picture by Bruce Taubert/Arizona Department of Game and Fish

Where wild things swim—again

Gila Top Minnow, picture by Bruce Taubert/Arizona Department of Game and Fish
Gila Top Minnow, picture by Bruce Taubert/Arizona Department of Game and Fish

A recent High Country News article entitled, “Where the wild things swim—again. In a borderlands river, improved water quality allows an endangered fish to return” highlighted the return of the Gila Top Minnow. The Top Minnow—an endangered species—has been discovered again in the Santa Cruz River thanks to the release of effluent from the Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Read the entire story. . . .