Centuries of storm water runoff have carved a natural flood channel in Henderson, Nev.
A Henderson, Nev., project amounting to the deforestation of a grove of mesquite trees in a Green Valley stretch of the Pittman Wash has residents, many whose homes line the banks, fighting city hall, according to the Nevada Current.
“There’s some really overgrown areas,” said Ed McGuire, Henderson’s public works chief, to Green Valley residents at a meeting at the Silver Springs Recreation Center. “Fires are a real concern. That’s what started the maintenance this winter was overgrowth that posed a fire hazard.”
According to the Nevada Current, the section of Pittman Wash between Green Valley Parkway and Valle Verde is a desert oasis, with trails constructed by Eagle Scouts, who reline the paths with pebbles following the rare storms that turn the wash into a raging rapid.
“We know what you guys have done with the channels. They don’t look so nice,” said resident Randall Roske, referring to the nearby cement washes. “We have a little portion of the past in the wash. It’s a great enhancement.”
However, to Henderson’s public works officials, the trails and vegetation are just obstacles to performing maintenance on a sewer main that runs the length of the wash and serves 50,000 Henderson residents, according to the city.
“We’ve gotten ourselves behind the eight ball,” said a Henderson utilities official, who recited a history of sewer overflows and main breaks along the wash, according to Nevada Current. “It’s difficult to get to the utilities.”
According to Nevada Current, the sewer line was built in the 1980s to facilitate the development of Green Valley.
“Since the 1990s the Pittman Wash, sanitary sewer system, and corresponding access road has been adversely impacted by increased recurring flood events due to the urbanized watershed, the introduction of invasive plant species that has resulted in increased density and height of vegetation, increased water level elevations due to the overgrowth in vegetation, and the recent surfacing of groundwater as a result of over-irrigation,” the city’s website said.
According to the city, the stretch of the wash from Pecos Road to Arroyo Grande is a critical component of the regional flood plan and designed to carry more than 3 million gal of water a minute, based on a 100-year flood model.