In 2015 Amaterra provided $1000 for seed funding to support Watershed Management Group’s Sabino Creek Restoration Campaign launch.
Photo from the Watershed Management Group’s website at https://watershedmg.org/rivers
The campaign’s goal is to restore habitat and surface flow to Sabino Creek, located downstream of Sabino Canyon, the most visited natural area in Tucson. Sabino Creek is located in a shallow groundwater area, where groundwater is 50 feet or less and still supports riparian habitat. This and other shallow groundwater areas are declining as groundwater pumping increases from area residents and as development encroaches. The campaign is a long-term, multi-faceted program including an educational/advocacy program with local residents; on-the-ground restoration efforts in private and public spaces; and policy actions to protect and enhance shallow groundwater areas.
Some of the things to be accomplished in the next two years:
Facilitate a stakeholder group to develop a restoration plan for Sabino Creek.
Lead watershed restoration workshops in public spaces in the Sabino Creek watershed, such as schools, ranches, or trailheads. Lead hands-on watershed restoration workshops with private residences in the Sabino Creek watershed, focusing on rainwater and greywater harvesting, green infrastructure, and small-scale restoration practices such as one-rock check dams.
Partner with four schools to teach our Shallow Groundwater Youth Advocacy Program, including two schools located within Sabino Creek watershed. In 2014 this program was piloted with Western Institute for Leadership Development, a Tucson charter high school.
Run a public marketing campaign to raise awareness and inspire action to restore Sabino Creek. Publish the “Get Wet Guide: Sabino Creek,” an interactive guide highlighting recreation opportunities, cultural destinations, wildlife, and ways to protect/restore shallow groundwater areas. Create a series of 3 “Get Wet Videos” about the importance of shallow groundwater areas and a specific call to action for Sabino Creek.
For more information about Watershed Management Group, please visit their website at www.watershedmg.org
The specific project that Amaterra is funding is a green job training program that WMG is running in partnership with Goodwill. The funding will be used to cover the time of expert instructors working with the youth and for some project materials to complete the project. Over the next two months, WMG will teach how to create a food-producing rain garden.
We will start with facilitating a design activity, where young people will learn how to design a landscape and contribute their ideas. Once the design is finalized, they will help with implementing the garden step-by-step. They will create sunken veggie beds, work on soil enhancements, and create a surrounding rain garden with native plants to attract pollinators like bees to the garden area. They will participate in planting and caring for the garden as well. They will learn about water-wise gardening and desert appropriate food crops at WMG’s Living Lab and Learning Center. We will work with the youth weekly to implement sustainable features at the Living Lab, including rain gardens, greywater systems, native and edible gardens, rain tanks, and natural building projects at WMG’s Living Lab and Learning Center.
WMG also has been working in Tucson neighborhoods (three currently) as teaching composting, demonstrating ways to capture runoff from rains and guide the water to tree wells (a really important project in areas where the streets regularly flood during storms), and encouraging the implementing of water storage tanks.
In addition to the strong local presence, WMG also has similar projects in foreign countries. Last year they partnered with Grampari, an organization in India, to give technical support and train new workers in the areas of sanitation and watershed management. This year they are shifting their emphasis to the Southwestern United States and Mexico.
Another shovel full
The Mission Statement of WMG: “Watershed Management Group develops and implements community-solutions to ensure the long-term prosperity of people and health of the environment. They provide people with the knowledge, skills, and resources for sustainable livelihoods.”