Gila River Projects

Gila River Restoration
Salt Cedar trees have congested more than 15,000 acres in and along the Gila River inside of Buckeye’s planning area.

Salt cedars are a noxious, invasive species that have proliferated the Gila River from Phoenix to Gila Bend. The salt cedars were planted along the banks of the Gila River in the late 1800’s to control erosion.

Unfortunately, what was planned to help stabilize the banks of the river has actually put our community, wildlife and a critical water source in danger.

Water Conservation
Eradicating salt cedars creates the potential to save 50,000 acre-feet of water annually.  

This water can be treated for Buckeye, Goodyear and Avondale citizens to use.

Salt cedar trees deposit excessive salt surrounding their base, contaminating the water table in Buckeye and have other water depleting characteristics.

200 gallons of water – amount of water absorbed by each tree every day
50,000 acre feet of water a year, creating a water resource in the desert
200,000 – # of households that could use the water now being used by salt cedars
600,000 – # of people who could benefit from the water resource

Wildlife Habitat Restoration
The Gila River is an important wildlife corridor that must be preserved. Salt Cedars are invasive species that out-compete native cottonwood and willow. The salt cedars have kept native trees from water and destroyed a natural habitat.

Unsuitable for most wildlife, salt cedars negatively impact the habitats of endangered populations of Willow Flycatchers, Yuma Clapper Rails, and Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo.

Over 150 species of birds in the Gila River
Other animals include beavers, tortoises, bobcats, and a host of other mammal, stream, and reptile species.

Fire Prevention
Salt cedars are highly flammable, putting surrounding homes, critical public facilities, and cities at risk, including State Route 85, which carries traffic to and from Interstate 8 (see photos).

Salt Cedars burn hotter than most trees, and with their overcrowding create the potential for enormous wildfires that threaten the life and property of the Buckeye Valley (see photos on pages 6-8).

Flood Control & Economic Development
The high density of salt cedars has congested the Gila River creating the potential for a backwater effect aggravating the impact of an already flood-prone area.

Future delineations will add 4,500 acres of floodplain (see map on page 2). This will limit development and farming, and require costly flood insurance.

200 – # of structures in the expanded flood plain.
SR85 bridge at risk
7,000 – acres of land affected by flooding in Buckeye
100 million – sq ft of reclaimed vertical land buildable space we will get back
Mitigate increased flood insurance requirements
Floodplain Use Permit is required for new development in floodplain/floodway
Developments must elevate above 1ft Water Surface Elevation (WSE)
Limited uses are permitted within the floodway

City of Avondale
City of Goodyear
Maricopa County Planning and Development
Maricopa Flood Control District
Arizona Game and Fish Department
Arizona State Land Department
Army Corps of Engineers
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Reclamation
Arizona Rock Products Association
Sonoran Institute
Maricopa Farm Bureau
Buckeye Water Conservation & Drainage District

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