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Santa Cruz dredging includes protecting species

Santa Cruz dredging includes protecting species
Posted at 4:12 PM, May 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-10 19:12:39-04

The work of dredging decades worth of built-up sand in the Santa Cruz continues, as efforts to save the wildlife who call it home moves forward. 

The project is divided into three phases. The first phase of work is underway now in the wash between Grant and Speedway. Crews are expected to have this finished by June. The second phase will be digging out the wash between Mission and Silverlake. The final phase tackles the dirt between Speedway and Mission. 

The City is taking this project on to get ready for Monsoon storms. For the last 30 years, sediment has collected along the Santa Cruz, reducing the capacity during rainstorms by two-thirds, according to county documents

During that time, riparian ecosystems have developed. As Mesquites and Tamarisks have matured, lizards, and many species of birds have moved in, including burrowing owls. 

Authorities are working with Harris Environmental and Wild at Heart to minimize disturbances to habitat and if possible, relocate them. 

The esimated 90,000 cubic yards of dirt removed during this phase will be used to create a water-harvesting park on just north of Grant on the westside of the Santa Cruz. 

Completion on this first phase is expected to be done by June.