New Chair, New Beginnings! | From the Chair
January 17, 2020
We welcome our new chair, Colleen Bergmanis, to the Environmental committee! Our last meeting was on December 4, 2019, and Beth Gorman, Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, gave a report on the air quality in Green Valley compared to other areas; even going as far to describe the different particulate sizes and how they can affect our overall environmental health. They have a wonderful website that provides real time resources for monitoring the quality of our environment, click here to explore! We also distributed the information for disposal of various waste materials, recyclable and non-recyclable, since there was not enough funding for a Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. Click here for the “Where Do I Dispose of This” Cheat Sheet!
Colleen is working currently on reworking the structure of the committee to be more action oriented rather than report oriented in order to be more proactive and lend more freedom for new projects, so keep checking in to get more updated information as it comes to fruition! In the meantime, LIKE US ON FACEBOOK to receive up to date information on all council happenings!
Colleen Bergmanis, Chair
At our April meeting: Ann George, a conservation ecologist working with Freeport, gave a very fascinating presentation on pollinators and their significance. This is due to Freeport’s efforts in the Western Desert Trails area and to ensure the best natural development of plant foliage and biological diversity. One associates pollinators with the plants used as food sources, which is true worldwide. Typically we also think of bees as the primary pollinator, but there are many more from birds to bats, butterflies to insects. Southern Arizona is home to over 1,000 species of bees out of the 4,000 known. During the Q&A, the question of Africanized bees came up and the degree to which they will attack to protect their hive. The reply was most strains of bees are Africanized to some degree, but they will typically only attack when agitated. It was also interesting of the thousands of species of bees, only two groups have a hive. In most cases the collapse of a hive is due to pesticides. In addition to some beautiful photographs of pollinators in her slide presentation, Ann concluded the presentation by passing out a small Primrose Cactus to each individual in attendance.
ADOT I-11 & INTERMOUNTAIN WEST STUDY
Time is running out for comments to be submitted to ADOT on the I-11 & Intermountain West Study. This is a corridor study from Nogales to Wickenburg to provide a transportation facility that will support improved regional mobility for people and goods. For more information about the proposed alternatives, go to http://i11study.com/ and click the button “Learn More” under Arizona.
If you want your voice to be heard, be sure provide your input to ADOT. Some potential issues expressed by local residents are increased noise and air pollution, expansion of the I-19 and better communication with Green Valley residents.
Comments must be submitted by June 2, 2017:
- Email: I-11ADOTStudy@hdrinc.com
- Toll-free bilingual telephone hotline: 1-844-544-8049
- Mail: Interstate 11 Tier 1 EIS Study Team c/o ADOT Communications 1655 W. Jackson St., Mail Drop 126F Phoenix, AZ 85007
ADOT SONORAN CORRIDOR STUDY
ADOT and FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) have begun a 3-year environmental study for the purpose of selecting a location for the Sonoran Corridor, a proposed new transportation facility that would connect Interstate 10 (I-10) and Interstate 19 (I-19), south of the Tucson International Airport. This would enable a high-capacity future transportation facility that would provide a link between I-10 and I-19 to enhance the efficiency of both commercial and passenger vehicle traffic in Southern Arizona.
Two public information meetings are scheduled to present potential alternatives for the study:
Tucson – June 7, 2017
5:30 to 7:00 PM / Presentation at 6:00 PM
Radisson Hotel Tucson Airport
4550 South Palo Verde Rd, Tucson 85714
Sahuarita – June 8, 2017
5:30 to 7:00 PM / Presentation at 6:00 PM
Santa Cruz Valley United Methodist Church
70 East Sahuarita Rd, Sahuarita 85629
For additional information, please refer to the ADOT website:
Or email ADOT:
Study Fact Sheet:
-Suzan Curtin, GVC Environmental Committee Chair
About The Committee:
The Environmental Committee is responsible for monitoring environmental conditions that affect the health and well being of the Green Valley Community. Three of the most important aspects of environmental quality are air, water, and energy. The Committee has identified these three areas to be the responsibility of subcommittees comprised of members of the larger Committee.
Because of the history of extensive copper mining in the Green Valley area, the Committee coordinates closely with representatives of the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality and representatives from the surrounding mining interests, namely Freeport-McMoRan and ASRCO (aka Grupo Mexico), one of the major copper producers in the World with companies in Mexico, Peru, and the US to monitor the effects of mining on the Green Valley community.
Green Up Your Holiday Clean Up & Give Up the Leaf Blower
Pima County, Ariz. – If cleaning up around the house for holiday guests involves removing fallen leaves on the porch or pathways in the yard, consider picking up a broom instead of a gas-powered leaf blower. The Pima County Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Air Program provides the following information about how our daily choices affect the air we breathe. Here are four reasons to avoid using a leaf blower [Read More]
Improvements and Additions to Madera Canyon
If you have not been up to Madera Canyon recently, some additions and changes done in the past six months make a trip up the canyon to see interesting and worthwhile. It is also cooler up there too!
The old one lane bridges near the top of Madera Canyon Road have been replaced with one magnificent and wide two lane structure. The public – private partnerships between the U.S. Forest Service, Friends of Madera Canyon, Sky Island Alliance and Borderlands Restoration have contributed to making the road to the top of the canyon much more enjoyable and safer too, both for general trips and also for evacuation incase of fires. [Read More]
A second major improvement has been the installation of a retaining wall at Proctor, just off the parking lot at the start of the Bud Gode Interpretive Nature Trail. On top of the footers a beautiful new Honor Wall to recognize significant volunteer efforts by Friends of Madera Canyon Volunteers has been erected. The native stone wall also has an “In Memory Of” section for recognition by loved ones of people who had a special love for the canyon. To complete the additions there are also two new ramadas with concrete picnic tables that are handicapped accessible. [Read More]
A Brief History of Copper Mining in the Green Valley Area
Copper, along with silver, was first mined from surface deposits in the late 1870s. Almost 100 years later in a ten-year period from 1973-1983, 1.3 billion tons of copper oxide ore was mined by Anamax, leaving behind a 200-feet, deep pit, 1.5 miles long by 1 mile wide. Nearby, the Sierrita mine opened in 1970 was removing 80,000 tons of metallic copper, annually. This ore was copper sulfide, which has a higher percentage of copper and may also contain uranium. When the price of copper declined the Duval/Sierrita complex began smelting operations to recover molybdenum, a byproduct of copper mining, which itself is an important industrial element. For information on Sierrita Mine’s curtailment click here.
Despite the economic benefits stemming from the industry, at least two lawsuits were brought over water rights and water quality in the Green Valley community in the 1970s. Monitoring of mines showed increased concentration of sulfates in wells. After remedial actions were taken by the mining companies, continued monitoring by governmental agencies and water companies indicate that the Green Valley community drinking water meets safety standards. Over the ensuing years, the Green Valley Council, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality, Freeport-McMoRan and ASARCO have worked together to ensure that the quality of the water is safe for the residents of Green Valley.
In monitoring the water quality, the Committee periodically reports to the Board of Representatives on the status of water use and water safety relative to the sulfate plumb that results from the mining operations. The link to the LWV presentation, December 12, 2014, is on the sidebar.
The following information was provided by Beth Gorman, the Pima County Department of Environmental Quality (PDEQ) representative, at February’s Committee meeting. She reported that there was a Freeport Air Expedience incident on Sunday afternoon, January 31, 2016. DEQ is working with Freeport-McMoRan on this incident. ASARCO also reported crews had worked over the weekend to minimize the dust caused by high winds occurring on January 30-31, 2016.
In describing the PDEQ air quality control program, she writes that their “…ultimate goal … is to reduce harmful contaminants in ambient air to safe and healthy levels, and maintain those levels. A key process in controlling air pollution is to define the nature and extent of air quality problems through monitoring. Pima County is currently in attainment of all air pollutants monitored, however, this region is very close to non-attainment of the new EPA ozone standard. PDEQ monitors six criteria pollutants in the Tucson and Green Valley area in accordance with regulations established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Data is reported hourly to the PDEQ website, EPA’s Air Now website, and other agencies. An Air Index Now report, based on the Air Quality Index (AQI), is generated hourly for public notification of current air quality conditions and possible health effects.
Whenever possible the Committee seeks to inform the Green Valley community on major environmental issues through Community Forums and other venues. The latest sponsored Community Forum was held on February 24, 2016, entitled “Climate Adaptation—Realities, Risk, and Consequences.” The primary speaker was Katharine Jacobs, Director, Center for Climate Adaptation Science & Solutions, Institute of the Environment, University of Arizona. Topics included, but were not limited to, the following:
- “How we know what we know.”
- “Where is over 90% of the trapped atmospheric heat going?”
- “What is the probability of local, long-term, reduced precipitation, increased temperatures, and increased weather extremes?”
- “What are the implications to our entire well-being?”