Sunday, May 24, 2009

Gallivanting (in the rain)

The dogs are up for a drive to just about anywhere, rain or no rain.
From the Picasa album Tucson Rain, Floods and Washes 2009

Ack! I didn't post an entry yesterday, and now today's almost over as well! I have been taking a lot of pictures, though. Let's put a dent in the backlog! These are from Thursday, when it rained all day here, more than double the total rain that usually falls in the entire month of May. I took the dogs with me on a joy ride around town, checking for flooding. Results were mixed.

The nearest arroyo (wash) to Calle Mumble is the Alamo Wash, which crosses Calle Betelgeux next to the high school athletic field behind 22nd and Kolb. As I approach, it just looks like a few inches of water crossing a dip in the road. And on Thursday, the water really wasn't all that deep on the road itself.

But look to the right as you drive slowly through the water, heading east. There's a pretty little green river, brought into existence by a floodplain and a few days or rain. Trees grow along the arroyo, taking advantage of seasonal and unseasonal rain, and sending down a taproot into the aquifer below. The result is a riparian habitat, which supports a very different set of plants and animals than one finds in the surrounding desert. Keeping these areas from being destroyed by overpumping groundwater or constraining the water flow too much is an ongoing challenge, especially since the occasional flood can be very destructive to surrounding property. But this particular stretch of the Alamo Wash is pretty and peaceful, at least on the south side of Betelgeux.

From there we went to the Pantano River, also called Pantano Wash. Here the damage is done from the lowered water table. Water flows sometimes, but even the significant rainfall of Thursday and the days preceding it was insufficient to bring much more than a strip of dampness to the stretch of the river near 22nd St at Pantano Parkway.

After that we turned around and went in the other direction, all the way to the dog park. There was definitely flooding there. The dogs took it in stride, and Pepper in particular ended up with muddy paws.

When we left the dog park, I decided to go back to Alamo Wash for more pictures. This is the view looking north as one crosses the water, going east on Betelgeux. This is where shopping carts, recycle bins and other detritus sometimes wash up. It's also where kids occasionally hang out, on or under the little bridge.

Neighborhood flooding isn't confined to that one little strip of road. Here's some more, a block or two away.

A different stretch of Alamo Wash runs past the neighborhood park. The woman in the photo above is carrying the smaller of her two dogs past the stretch of flowing water.

Safely past the wash, the terrier resumes its walk.

And here is the stretch of Alamo Wash immediately south of where the terrier was carried. Tucson Clean and Beautiful is looking for someone to adopt each of these stretches of Alamo Wash, but I think overall they're in pretty good shape. At least, they were on Thursday!


1 comment:

Jama said...

We could use some rain here Karen, it's too hot and humid ! I hate to leave my home, it's like an oven out there!