County Completes Tonto Creek Flood Mitigation Work

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County officials say flood mitigation work in Tonto Creek is complete — at least for now.

In a three-week window, crews removed 17,000 cubic feet of dirt from two crossings, shored up a levee and hauled out dead and down vegetation blocking the creek.

The work wrapped up Thursday in time for the Mexican garter snake and Willow flycatcher mating seasons. The Forest Service required the county end work by the end of March so mating was uninterrupted.

County crews hauled out 5,000 cubic yards of dirt upstream from the Bar X Crossing and at least 12,000 cubic yards near the Store Crossing, lowering the sandbars in both locations, said Gila County Public Works Director Steve Stratton.

Crews also finished work on the Roosevelt Gardens East dike Monday, which was damaged by floodwaters.

Unfortunately, prison work crews did not finish removing vegetation from the clogged creek due to a prison lockdown and other problems Stratton said he could not disclose.

“They only had a few days out there,” Stratton said. “Of course we would have liked to remove more aggregate, but we ran out of time.”

Now, county officials say they will monitor what effect the work has on the flow of the creek.

“Hopefully, it will keep the flow in the center of the creek,” Stratton said.

Feedback from residents is mixed with some criticizing the county for not doing enough.

“We did what we could,” Stratton said. “It is better than not doing anything.”

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