Committee on Natural Resources 01 June 2012
Dear Honorable Members:
I am writing to bring to your attention that the city of Tombstone has been less than honest in their declaration of emergency due to the monument fire and floods. They received $50,000 emergency funds last year from the state of Arizona. Which should have been more than enough to fix the only intake area that they had before the flood. The city of Tombstone is wasting time and money going after springs that they have not used for 30+ years, in some cases well over 70 years. The only spring that they were using pre- fire and flood has been restored and upgraded with a huge (10 feet high and 200 feet long dike). The intake area is in the wilderness area and was covered over by small rocks and debris and would have taken a 6 man crew less than a week to uncover. They instead bullied the forest service (using the “emergency”) into allowing them to go into the wilderness area with heavy machinery to build the dike.
The City of Tombstone now has two more springs working than they had before the Monument fire and flood, for a total of 3 springs. Even if the city of o get all 25 springs that they are claiming it will not add more than 10% to the total water, if that. Those springs were abandoned for Tombstone is allowed ta reason, they have very little, if any, water in dry years. This will come at a huge cost, not only will they be ripping up the mountain but the financial cost would be staggering, it does not make sense.
Tombstone had been poking around for several years prior to the fire and making noise about "reclaiming" their abandoned springs. Now they are using the monument fire to try to go after springs that the city of tombstone has long abandoned. I personally think the forest service is doing a decent job of keeping the impact to a minimum, but is perhaps a bit too lenient. I have it on good authority that the forest service was planning to allow the City of Tombstone to reconnect the 5 springs that they had permits for in 1979. The lawsuit filed by the city of Tombstone put this process on hold. I feel this is a mistake and they should not be allowed to reconnect springs that they have not used for 30+ years. However it shows that the forest service had been allowing the city of Tombstone to access the springs, before the lawsuit.
The city of Tombstone has yet to locate many of these springs it has simply been too long since they were last used. Instead they are eyeing springs used by others. One of these springs is our only source of water right now. Another one belongs to Liberty water company, which is no longer in use it due to the quality of water. Neither of these springs is any where near the old Tombstone springs....
An Ocelot was sighted right above the city of Tombstone’s main spring early last year. There is also a nesting pair of Spotted owls that hang out along the trail between the spring the city of Tombstone had been using and one of the springs they wish to reconnect. Gardner spring had not been used since 1977 when it was washed out due to fire and flooding. 30 years can't be that much of an emergency... yet they were allowed by the forest service to reconnect Gardner spring. The forest service even closed down that part of the forest so the city of Tombstone could do the work without people taking their picture. So to say that the forest service has not allowed the city of tombstone access to their springs is not true. Far from it they have given the city of Tombstone more access than they should have gotten.
Tom Beatty Jr. (520)-678-3227
2173 E Miller Canyon Road
Hereford, AZ 85615