The Gila River near Riverside in eastern Pinal county, Arizona, has water during part of the year depending on rainfall and releases from a dam. It flows along the Arizona Trail and is a wildlife corridor. Animals and birds in the area may include the western screech owl, great horned owl, ringtail, and a variety of birds, snakes, and deer. This is part of the Sonoran desert where rainfall is scarce and water has been a particular problem during 20 years of drought in the western United States and Canada. If Pinal county approves Riparian protection we hope there will be no dumping of treated effluent in washes and no building in or alteration of washes which carry water during infrequent but sometimes violent storms.
The iconic saguaro often graces the sides of washes along with less rare sightings of cottonwoods and other native trees and plants providing habitat for birds and other wildlife. Washes, or arroyos, provide protection from runoff damaging adjacent structures and human activity. While riverbeds such as the Gila often are dry, they once were free-flowing corridors providing food and shelter for Native Americans. Turkeys and other sources of food were available to people inhabiting the area before overhunting and habitat destruction decimated the game bird.
Offroading in and near washes destroys the stream banks and homes of wildlife such as tortoises, foxes, coyotes and burrowing owls.
A report by a county consultant is awaiting distribution and reportedly will detail the effects of a possible ordinance governing riparian protection.