Neighbors near the Barry M. Goldwater bombing range might be getting relief from flooding, but it might still be a couple of years away.
Residents of Wellton Hills Subdivision II, located between Avenue 28E to Avenue 28½E, complained of storm runoff flowing off the range across County 14th Street onto their properties.
The residents asked Yuma County to widen a drainage ditch adjacent to the roadway onto the bombing range to increase its capacity.
Col. Robert Kuckuk, commander of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, has expressed that MCAS would be willing to discuss granting easements in the area, according to staff reports.
Subsequently, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to perform an evaluation for an easement and to begin discussions with MCAS to acquire the necessary easements.
In response to the complaints, county staff met in April with Kuckuk and residents at the site to discuss and evaluate the drainage concerns.
Resident Patricia King asked whether the county could resume maintenance of the channel and redirect the flow into the County 14th Street culverts east of their subdivision.
“The county's position has been that an improvement district needs to be formed for the right-of-way acquisition, construction or maintenance of drainage improvements,” stated a memorandum dated May 28 from Craig Sellers, senior civil engineer, to Roger Patterson, county engineer and flood control manager, and Robert Pickels, county administrator.
The memo noted that King was aware of the drainage issues prior to construction of her home, but she told county officials that her builder advised her to raise the floor elevation, which she did. She also landscaped a channel around her house, but subsequent runoff has filled the channel with sand.
Another neighbor, Garry Weatherly, stated that water has flowed into his garage and sand has been deposited on his landscaping.
Neither person indicated residential damage as a result of the runoff.
Kuckuk stated that MCAS would be willing to discuss granting easements for drainage improvements. He indicated that an environmental assessment would be required and the terms and conditions would need to be discussed.
He also said that during exercises, MCAS uses County 14th Street to access the range. Customs and Border Patrol also use the street.
According to a staff report, the storm water historically has flowed northerly and is then intercepted by the Wellton Dike and directed westerly into Ligurta Creek Floodway.
Prior to 1992, a berm was constructed by private owners west of Avenue 28E on the bombing range.
In 1994, at the board's direction, the Mohawk Valley County 14th Street Drainage Study Preliminary Report proposed a graded channel on the south side of County 14th Street to accommodate a portion of the flow off of the range. The runoff would be released to the washes along County 14th Street.
The study identified that an access permit from the range would be needed prior to constructing any improvements.
In 1995, the board authorized the purchase of pipe culvert materials for construction of storm water crossings on Avenue 29E, north of County 14th Street, and on County 14th Street at Avenue 28 ¾E.
Public Works then installed the culverts and paved the extension of Avenue 29E to County 14th Street and County 14th Street, between Avenue 28E and Avenue 30E.
Public Works has maintained the berm between Avenue 27E to Avenue 28E due to erosion from a large storm. The berm and portions of the roadway improvements are believed to encroach onto the range.
The report noted that MCAS is agreeable to considering the dedication of a drainage easements to widen the existing drainage ditch parallel to the roadway. A portion of the storm water could then be directed to the existing culvert crossing at Avenue 28 ¾E.
This improvement will only intercept a portion of the drainage; however, the additional drainage easement will permit the county to maintain a roadside shoulder.
An environmental assessment, in accordance with the National Environmental Protection Act, would likely be required to support the easement application, which would cost about $70,000 and take up to two years to complete.
Staff recommended the right-of-way for County 14th Street between Avenue 26E and Avenue 25E be acquired. However, additional board action will be required to authorize the acquisition and any development.
Staff also recommended public participation in future improvements.
Mara Knaub can be reached at email@example.com or (928) 539-6856. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSMaraKnaub or on Twitter at @YSMaraKnaub.