TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - This is not the Agua Caliente Park visitors are used to seeing.
On Wednesday, June 12 Pima County began removing large trees and cattails from the completely empty Pond 1, after letting it drain the last several months.
“This is a really important project,” said Wendy Burroughs, an environmental project manager for Pima County.
The trees and 15-foot tall reeds are being removed to give visitors a better view of the water, before the county seals the bottom of the pond to prevent water from seeping into the ground. Officials say the changes will improve the experience for both human and animal visitors.
“The fact that we were losing so much water from the bottom of the pond is what triggered us to do this project,” said Burroughs. “We’re going to be putting some amenities in that are specifically for wildlife. There is going to be a second island put in the pond specifically for wildlife to just relax and enjoy themselves.”
Most of the aquatic animals in Pond 1 (the big pond in front of the park) have been transferred to Pond 2, near the back of the property. Other animals have been moved to wildlife sanctuaries.
A bridge will be built to the first island after an older one was removed more than 10 years ago. The iconic park will face partial closures throughout the summer before the pond is re-filled, and the animals returned, in September.
Burroughs says despite the pond being devoid of water, the remaining wildlife is adapting as it waits for the water to return.
“The birds are still up in the trees singing and so forth,” said Burroughs. “Life is going on in paradise like nothing is happening.”
For more information on the project, click HERE.