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Volunteers help fix river bank at Gateway Park
The river bank at Gateway Park is much greener now thanks to the efforts of about 40 volunteers with Johnson Controls of Yuma. The bank had been damaged by high water in July, and planting the trees was the last step in a process to restore the park.
“Erosion of the bank line eats into the park land,” said Charles Flynn, executive director of the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, which includes the park.
“In one area, it came very close to the sidewalk. If it had damaged the sidewalk, the repair cost to the city of Yuma would have been significant.”
The first step in the restoration process was carried out by the Bureau of Reclamation, which “graded and re-contoured the bank line in early September,” Flynn said. “The next step was to plant the bank line with native marsh plant to help stabilize the shore line.”
The volunteers placed several hundred marsh plants in the bank.
“Planting the bank line helps to naturally prevent erosion,” Flynn explained. “The plants take root and create a natural buffer. It prevents erosion, which reduces maintenance, and it reduces the growth of ugly, non-native vegetation.”
And it will improve the ecosystem, he added.
“The native plants create habitat for the wildlife in the area.”
In addition to providing the labor for free, which would have cost about $2,250 otherwise, Johnson Controls also donated $1,000 to pay for the plants.
“Neither the city of Yuma nor the Heritage Area had budgeted funds for this project, so it was very important” Johnson controls donated both money and manpower, Flynn said.
Flynn is grateful to the volunteers.
“Our experience is that they are the most hard-working volunteers we have ever had!” he said.