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  • Construction of cienega, building upgrades part of buzz of activity at Historic Canoa Ranch

    Jan 08, 2020 | Read More News
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    Backhoes are moving dirt and trenching for electricity on one part of the property, while an ephemeral wetland begins to take shape north of the pond. It’s all part of the buzz of activity at Pima County’s Historic Canoa Ranch, a 4,800-acre complex in Green Valley listed on the National Register of Historic Places and managed by Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation.

    Most notable is construction of a Cienega -- a Spanish word meaning marsh or wet meadow – by the County’s Regional Flood Control District. It will function as an ephemeral wetland that will be watered by overflowing the ranch’s existing pond through a new spillway. That spillway will be located on northern end of the 2.5-acre pond. Canoa Pond was constructed by the District and dedicated in October 2018.
    Canoa Pond
    In addition to the new spillway, current construction of the Cienega includes soil grading, landscaping, and construction of an earthen trail along the top of the Cienega. Completion is estimated in February 2020.  

    The open water of Canoa Pond already attracts waterfowl and other bird species, while larger mammals use the pond as a water source.  When completed, the unique habitat of the Cienega will support numerous wildlife species, including attracting additional species which prefer the Cienega habitat to the pond habitat. The pond and cienega are the first phase of much larger project to restore riparian habitat in the Santa Cruz River floodplain.

    Other activity around the historic ranch includes trenching to run electricity to three buildings: the Manning Sr. House, the Foreman’s House and the Tradesman House. The latter is set to be the home of a future visitor center and gift shop.

    “Getting electricity to those buildings will allow us to expand the user experience for the public to learn more about the rich history of the ranch,” Matt Smogor, park manager at Historic Canoa Ranch, said. The visitor center will enable guests to check in for tours and other programs and have any questions answered by assigned staff.

    “Our visitor center will contain a snapshot of the whole ranch along with an exhibit/story center, gifts for purchase and refreshments,” Smogor said.

    Additionally, the first phase of new campground south of the Canoa Equestrian Area is taking shape. Staff is developing a conceptual site layout and conducting an analysis of utilities. Currently, the project is only in the preliminary planning stage.