Skip to comments.Shovel Brigade sends a message [Tombstone takes action to get water]
Posted on 05/28/2012 10:08:50 AM PDT by SandRat
A group called the Tombstone Shovel Brigade is planning an event in the Huachuca Mountains in June in an effort to make additional repairs to the citys water supply.
The City of Tombstones waterlines and reservoirs in the Coronado National Forest were damaged by mudslides after last years Monument Fire, and the U.S. Forest Service refused to let the city use heavy machinery in some areas, citing the Wilderness Act. Tombstone filed a lawsuit to prevent the Forest Service from interfering with its ability to adequately access the water, but a federal judge recently ruled against the city.
According to the Tombstone Shovel Brigades website, the group was established for several reasons, including to bring public awareness to the issues facing the city regarding repairs to its historic water system and the limited cooperation the city has received from the Forest Service.
Another goal of the Tombstone Shovel Brigade is to get a lot of work done using hand tools and horses. A few workers can only make so much progress but a couple of thousand people with picks, shovels, ropes and chains can accomplish a lot and will send a loud message to the National Forest Service and the federal government, states the website.
The groups website alleges that the Forest Service delayed the permit process from July of 2011 until November of 2011 and then insisted that we complete the emergency temporary repairs by March 1, 2012, with only one spring included in the language of the permit and limited access to a second primary water source. Unless the Forest Service changes their position soon, the City of Tombstone will have to sit and watch as their efforts are destroyed by this summers rainy season.
According to documents from the Forest Service, on Nov. 7, 2011, Coronado National Forest Supervisor Jim Upchurch authorized Tombstone to repair a portion of its water system at Miller Spring, in the Miller Peak Wilderness. And, on Dec. 22, 2011, he authorized the city to complete additional repairs to their water system from the Forest boundary to 1/4 mile above, or west of, Gardner Spring, in the Miller Peak Wilderness.
Because the work was to be conducted in Congressionally designated Wilderness, Minimum Requirement Decision Guides were completed to determine methods to achieve the desired work. Then, Regional Forester, Corbin Newman, delegated authority to the Forest Supervisor to allow mechanized and motorized use within the Wilderness, per certain conditions. Other work was to be completed by hand.
A letter written by Upchurch that was sent to Tombstone in December of 2011, for example, emphasized that the authority addressed only the immediate work necessary on the Gardner Spring system, as well as the stabilization and rehabilitation work required as a result of all of the work within the Miller Creek drainage.
The Tombstone Shovel Brigade group claims that after the Regional Forester agreed to allow limited access to only one spring (Miller Spring) with mechanized equipment, and as the excavation process started, it revealed that some of the systems collection structures and springs were buried in as much as 12 feet of debris.
Requests to work on another critical source of water at Gardner Spring, which is located in the same canyon, were thwarted and more red tape was added to the mix. Not only did the Forest Service limit the size and type of equipment that would be allowed into the area along with a limited time frame, they also refused to allow access to build a diversion above this critical water source. These restrictions have insured that the emergency temporary repairs that were installed by hand at Gardner Spring will be destroyed as this seasons monsoon rains occur, according to the website for Tombstone Shovel Brigade.
Geoff McLeod, a longtime resident of the area, told the Herald/Review that, in his opinion, the timing of the Tombstone Shovel Brigade event in June is really bad, citing the safety of the volunteers and the possibility that someone could inadvertently start a fire.
To get a bunch of volunteers that are not familiar with the terrain or the country or the weather, that could be really hazardous. May and June are the absolute hottest, driest, most fire-prone months of the year. It absolutely doesnt get any worse than that, he said, adding, I think it is unfair to the people who volunteer to go up and volunteer to do heavy backbreaking shovel work in the hottest, driest months of the year, and especially at 5,500, 5,800 or 6,000 feet elevation, its just not wise.
If anything, if they waited another month, when hopefully the monsoons will start, first of all, it is going to be cooler, hopefully, and secondly, if we do get some rain up there, all of that dirt up there will be a whole lot easier to move, he added.
McLeod said he is concerned about saving what is left of the mountain and making sure the water is not being used for one source, but he does not object to Tombstone getting some water.
Organizers of the Tombstone Shovel Brigade are asking people to send a shovel and a $5 donation to the City of Tombstone. Members of the public are also invited to participate in the event on June 8 and 9 to lend a hand with actually digging dirt. For more information, people should call the city at (520) 457-2202 , or visit www.tombstoneshovelbrigade.org.
According to the groups website, the critical areas to be considered a priority during the event are Gardner Spring and Miller Spring, including the following details:
Gardner Spring: The main goal is to build a diversion to protect the temporary repairs at the spring. Using hand tools we plan to install a large berm made out of native soil that was dragged into the flow path by landslides. Ideally the berm will be about 10 feet tall and will be narrow at the top and up to 10 feet wide at the base. It needs to be between 50 feet and 100 feet long to help force storm water around the spring source and temporary collection system. This diversion will be a temporary solution to protect one of our primary water sources. Another goal is to cover and protect the exposed pipe and valve assembly installed at the temporary collection structure. This can be accomplished by using native soil and stones.
Miller Spring: Miller Spring is the only location that we were allowed to use mechanized equipment to excavate the springs and install a new temporary collection pipe and valve assembly. We also used the equipment to install a diversion and it will be the model for the diversion installed by hand at Gardner Spring. Our work goal at Miller Spring is to remove a leaking valve and replace it with a section of pipe. The valve is located in an exposed section of the 7 inch steel main about 200 feet below the Miller Spring collection pond. It will require some minor hand excavation and the use of a gas powered cut‐off saw to remove the valve. The removed section will be very heavy and will require the help of several people to carry it out. Couplings designed to slide over the pipe will be installed to accept a new section of pipe to replace the removed valve.
Another pre packaged campaign theme all ready to go. If Mittens and the RNC are smart enough to use it.
I just quiver at how exciting it would be to run the R campaign this year with all the opportunity that exists; and with issues like this we could use.
I just question if we have people smart enough to do basic things.
Sounds a lot like the type of thing the Forest Service did in Jarbidge, NV back in the year 2000. Same MO.
Oh, c’mon now! Has it been that long?
Hmmm...maybe it has, after all...
... when hopefully the monsoons will start, ...if we do get some rain up there, all of that dirt up there will be a whole lot easier to move, he [McLeod] added.”
First, they are trying to make repairs BEFORE the coming rains, so the system isn’t damaged it MORE.
Second, when is water-saturated mud easier to work with than dirt?
My brain has the voice of the chief of police from that old McLeod TV show, when McLeod (Dennis Weaver) would come up with some crazy idea and walk out, with the chief yelling “McLeod!”
Yes, it has been that long...July, 2000..Jarbidge. We’ve lost half of that group...Redrock, Larry Toelle, Gulf of Tonkin, nunya bidness...just to name a few.
I am trying to put some of my 20+ years of experience on the Klamath issues into a white paper to pass on when I retire. (2 1/2 years.)
As you can see, this is an all out assault on natural resources, with battle, after battle. It never lets up. It is appalling that our government allows/encourages this to go on. No one who reads this can doubt that the desired outcome is to strip our farmers of their water rights and shut them down entirely.
Yes, Ma’am. Thanks for all you do, Marsh. Sadly, like most issues, this one will have to ‘bite’ a lot more people before they ‘get it’. Not sexy enough to catch on. I used to tell Redrock we needed to strip him, put a bone in his nose, pierce his nipples and put him in a cage with a sign GAY CAVEMAN and then maybe we’d draw some attention to the landrights/water issue.
As my Daddy used to say...You either own the land or you’re a slave. Back on the plantation/reservation with ya!!!
Agenda 21 anyone?
Good one. ;^D
Or how about hiring the Amish?
Have you heard what the grand design of Agenda 21 is? There is always a method to their madness.
Somebody with much dinero is going to buy up those natural resources. The initials GS some to mind.
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