Gila Watershed Partnership volunteers build erosion dams to protect EAC’s Discovery Park Campus

Contributed Photo: The Gila Watershed Partnership helped build dams to reduce erosion at EAC’s Discovery Park Campus. Pictured are, back, from left, Steve Plath, Melanie Tluczek, Kara Barron, Josh Lightner, Bethany Drahota, Allen Denning, and Grace David; front, from left, John Dugi, Julie Davis, Rachel Creed, and Paul Anger.

By Paul Anger

THATCHER — Eastern Arizona College’s Discovery Park Campus (EACDPC) welcomed staff members from the Gila Watershed Partnership (GWP) recently for a service project to repair and protect several areas near the entrance to campus from erosion and rain run-off damage.

“Heavy rains create cuts on hillsides where the rushing rainwater erodes (or washes out) dirt, smaller rocks, and native plants,” said Paul Anger, Discovery Park Campus director. “Often called arroyos, these washouts allow the rain to quickly flow and not soak into the ground where the native plants atop the hills need it for survival.  Erosion reduces the ability of the land to hold moisture and nutrients for vegetation. This process ultimately destroys the ecosystem, creating a barren land without native plants and animals.”

Contributed Photo: The group built rock dams to help against erosion.

The GWP staff built several erosion dams made of rocks and vegetation debris.  These rock dams slow the flow of the rainwater and allow the dirt and sediments to settle and accumulate back into the ground instead of rushing down and carving out deep canyons.  The erosion dams also hold the water behind them and allow it to soak in, promoting plant growth that will continue to help hold the soil in place with their roots and debris.

“The Gila Watershed Partnership is an important project collaborator with EAC and it’s always a pleasure to work with them,” said Anger. “Along with being positive and friendly, they work hard to beautify and protect the environment. The GWP members all have specific skill-sets, but most importantly, they all have a determination to serve the community and protect our unique environment of the Gila Valley.”

The Gila Watershed Partnership manages the Gila Native Plant Nursery on EAC’s Discovery Park Campus.  They provide environmental educational outreach and sell native vegetation to the public.
For more information on EAC’s Discovery Park Campus and the Gila Watershed Partnership call (928) 428-6260.