Tech Notes 070228 Final by E5mms3P0


February 28, 2007 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Room 900, Cochise College Campus                                     Rencie Woolsey and Holly Richter

Call to Order/ Introductory Remarks by Chair Holly Richter @ 1:30 PM.

Attendees: Holly Richter, Russell Scott, Tom Runyon, Bill Childress, Jason Douglas, Jim
Leenhouts, Daniel Moore (by phone), Tobias Finke, David Croft
Public: Tricia Gerrodette, Mary Ann Black, Colby Henley (Recon-Environmental), Susan
Staff: Rencie Woolsey

Status Report:

       Childress, BLM)

       Bill Childress summarized observations from a field trip coordinated by BLM on February 9th
       near Murray Springs. Participants on the trip included reps from BLM, USFWS, USGS,
       USDA-ARS, TNC, the City of Sierra Vista, Arizona Audubon, University of Arizona, along
       with interested citizens in the community. The purpose was to look at hydrologic conditions
       down gradient from the Sierra Vista water reclamation facility, including Murray Springs and
       Curry Draw.

       The participants first looked at an archeological site that was previously excavated and has
       been generally arid for a very long time, although 13,000 years ago this particular site was a
       natural, functional spring. There has been a recent increase in soil saturation at the site and
       there are concerns that the saturated soils could destabilize archeological resources, and/or
       result in vandalization. At Curry Draw, the group observed surface flows, recorded locations
       of the flows by GPS, and noticed cottonwoods surrounded by water within the channel.
       The surface flow terminates about ¼-mile from the confluence of Curry Draw and the San
       Pedro. Nearby Moson Springs is also experiencing higher flows.

       Bill presented a map showing data collected by Jim Leenhouts during the field trip: the red
       data points along Curry Draw convey the highest conductivity readings, and the blue data
       points indicate relatively low values. Higher conductivity levels may suggest the presence of
       effluent recharge water.

       Hydrographs of Murray Springs convey that both high and low flows have increased notably
       in the years since the water reclamation facility has been in operation. The participants on
       the trip speculated that these trends might be connected to the recharge facility. Additional
       recharge may also be occurring from the unlined wetlands at the facility. David Croft said
       several BLM monitoring wells in the area are “coming up,” with the shallower wells coming
       up faster in recent months, well over a foot.

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       The committee discussed the existing uncertainties associated with the observed hydrologic
       conditions, and the need for increased coordination between agencies for monitoring and
       investigation of ongoing processes/dynamics. In addition, a better understanding of this
       project will help to inform other regional-scale recharge projects within the subwatershed.
       Project yield estimates for the Sierra Vista WRF may also require revision in the future with
       this new information.

       AGREEMENT: It would be beneficial for BOR, BLM, and USGS to collaborate on
       monitoring efforts in the future to increase efficiencies, minimize costs, and broaden our
       understanding of processes and conditions in the area.
       AGREEMENT: Data from the collaborative monitoring effort may merit inclusion within the
       2007 321 Report.

Potential Action Items:
          Leenhouts/ Holly Richter)

             The USPP is providing the USGS with $2500 to collect electroconductivity data in
       Palominas to assist with locating future recharge facilities that will be within or near the
       proposed Mansker Estates subdivision.

               The committee was asked for their input regarding collection and use of this data for
       decision-making to aid the County in its subdivision review process for this parcel, and as
       follow-up to the previous Stantec study stormwater management recommendations for the
       area. Jim Leenhouts emphasized that the best time to take electroconductivity
       measurements is when soils are relatively dry, hopefully this need will not hold up the timing
       of data collection. Some committee members expressed concern about the USPP’s role in
       the project, especially in terms of providing specific engineering recommendations related to
       the proposed development. A request was made to invite a rep from the County to the next
       Tech meeting to better define their information needs, and the use of this information in their
       planning and approval processes. The committee clarified that they intended this data
       collection effort to provide guidance for regional water management purposes, not site-
       specific engineering.

             Susan Ostrander, a Palominas resident voiced concerns about the subdivision
       development proposal and made recommendations regarding modifications.
       ACTION: A representative from the County will be invited to attend the next Tech
       Committee meeting to discuss their information needs.
       AGREEMENT: The Technical Committee supports characterization (by electroconductivity
       measurements) of this site and adjacent areas to determine the best site for stormwater
       recharge in order to help inform regional water management.

       AREAS (All)

              The recent establishment of an Overlay District by Cochise County allows for the
       transfer of development rights (TDR) within the Sierra Vista Subwatershed. Decreases of
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      density within two miles of the San Pedro and/or one mile of the Babacomari River may be
      considered by the County as a factor in favor of approving increases in density elsewhere in
      the Subwatershed. However, the County seeks information regarding the prioritization of
      “sending” areas within these defined river corridors. The committee was asked which
      version of the USGS groundwater capture map was most appropriate for use by the County
      in the prioritization of sending areas for TDR’s. Subsequent discussion highlighted that the
      version of the capture map to use depended upon the depth of groundwater pumping
      (and/or retirement of pumping). Different pumping depths relate to different layers in the
      groundwater model, and versions of the capture map. The need for additional information
      related to existing pumping depths was clearly identified. In addition, the timeframe over
      which impacts to the river were expected must be identified. Additional discussion on this
      topic will be needed to address these key issues.

      ACTION: Holly will contact Rich Burtell at ADWR to get information on existing well depths.

         (Jim Leenhouts)

      Jim Leenhouts encouraged a more sophisticated approach toward assessing sustainable
      yield for the upcoming Section 321 report, which will likely continue to evolve over the
      coming years in subsequent reports. In previous years, sustainability has been described in
      terms of specific criteria for environmental, social and economic consequences. Use of a
      regional water budget has been the primary approach, or context, by which sustainable
      yield was assessed. Jim emphasized the need for metrics that can be used to both monitor
      and predict changes. Much discussion occurred as the group speculated about specific
      metrics that could be used to assess the various environmental criteria for sustainable yield.

      AGREEMENT: A suite of multiple metrics should be used to assess sustainability. At a
      minimum, metrics that address the following environmental criteria should be included in the
      2007 Section 321 report: groundwater levels in the alluvial aquifer within the SPRNCA
      maintained, stream base flow and flood flows maintained, accrete aquifer storage (regional
      aquifer), springs in the SPRNCA continue to flow.
      ACTION: Members of Tech Committee will identify specific data sets that could be used for
      these metrics, and will bring their recommendations to the next Tech meeting.

Call to the Public: (limit 3 minutes per person) Susan Ostrander gave credit to the County for
its consideration of the data procured by the USPP in its decision making. She thanked the
committee for its efforts.

Adjourn/ Next Meeting Date: March 28th, 2007 1:30 – 4:30 PM Cochise College, Room 900

Agenda Items for Next Meeting:
   Continued discussion about Palominas Recharge Project (County rep will be invited).
   Continued discussion concerning metrics and data sets for 2007 321 Report.

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