Sections of Agua Caliente Park will be temporarily closed beginning Wednesday, June 12, due to an extensive pond restoration project.
Closures around Pond 1, and possibly of the trail to Pond 2, will be in place through June 14, but may extend until the week of June 17.
“The purpose of the pond restoration is to conserve water by minimizing seepage from the pond and to improve habitat by deepening the pond and adding additional features,” a news release from Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation says.
“Seepage from the pond’s bottom has caused significant and recurring water loss, and groundwater from the well is being continually pumped to keep the pond full,” the release says, adding that well water is no longer being pumped into the main pond. “The pond is too shallow as the result of erosion and sediment build-up, which has contributed to the spread of invasive cattails.”
Wednesday’s partial closure at the 101-acre park, at 12325 E. Roger Road, will allow workers to safely begin the project’s construction phase — first removing select palm trees and invasive cattails.
The removal of plants and select trees will “help restore the historic view of the pond and allow native species at the park to thrive in a healthier environment,” the release says. A number of the cattails will be replanted in containers.
The project’s second phase, expected to take place in July, will take several months to complete and will shut down the entire park while workers replace a bridge and install a wildlife island.
The park’s restoration project has been ongoing over the last two months, with staff slowly draining the main pond.
Expected improvements to the main pond include the installation of a liner to reduce water loss.
“The restoration of Pond 1 will help ensure that it remains viable and a historic feature of the park for future generations to enjoy,” Karen Simms, the county’s Natural Resources Division manager, said in the release.
When construction is complete, plans include refilling the 3½-acre pond with water pumped from a well and possibly water from the Agua Caliente Spring.
Park officials have estimated the cost of the restoration project to be between $750,000 and $1 million.