Harrenburg Wash Enhancement Project

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Project Updates

December 13, 2021 - Natural Channel Design placed wetland seed and coir fabric over the headcuts last week, a very labor intensive part of this project. 

November 20, 2021 - We had several community members attend the Community Open House today, along with Natural Channel Design (NCD) and Coconino County Parks & Recreation staff. After looking at the map of the project area, we walked up and down the length of Harrenburg Wash to check out the completed construction work. Construction took place from Nov. 9-16, 2021. Cathy with NCD pointed out how the headcuts were repaired and rock sills installed; the wetland vegetation was replaced over the finished repaired areas and compressed into the rock sills and soil. By using this method, we expect that many wetland grasses and sedges will resprout in the spring. 

Additional construction work included incorporating gentler slopes on the dam breach area to create a safer, more stable slope to walk on and where more vegetation can grow. Another rock sill was installed in this area. Plus, most of the shrub willows were left in place in the breach, while the two largest willows that were removed were replanted along the pond margin.

Three one-rock dams were installed across the low flow channel in the wet meadow. A lot of debris, like piles of asphalt and concrete that were dumped many years ago, were hauled away, as were the beaver dam analogs. In the parking lot, the berm that contained asphalt and concrete was also removed, with larger rocks set in place as bollards. The berm that continued south and was causing trail erosion was also removed and the trail erosion was repaired. Stay tuned for more updates in 2022 where we'll continue this project and plant cottonwood trees, willow poles, and wetland plugs, and conduct more invasive weed management.

November 8, 2021 - Join us for a Community Open House about the Harrenburg Wash Enhancement Project on Saturday, November 20 at 9:30 a.m. Talk with the engineers about the work taking place in Harrenburg Wash and the ecosystem impacts. Meet at the Harrenburg Wash Trailhead. Work is slated to begin Tuesday, November 9 and last about 30 days. During this time, parking may be temporarily closed due to construction. For your safety and the safety of your pets, please do not approach construction equipment and operators while they are working. Please help with everyone’s safety and stay out of the construction area and away from construction equipment.

September 23, 2021 - (Update: Postponed due to wet conditions.) Construction in Harrenburg Wash will start early October 2021 and last about 30 days. During this time, parking may be temporarily closed due to construction. For your safety and the safety of your pets, please do not approach construction equipment and operators while they are working. Please help with everyone’s safety and stay out of the construction area and away from construction equipment. 

August 28, 2021 - It was a blue-sky morning as we pulled diffuse knapweed out of Harrenburg Wash. Thank you, volunteers, for making a difference in this watershed! Curious how to spot diffuse knapweed? Visit Northern Arizona Invasive Plants website at https://www.nazinvasiveplants.org. You can make a difference when you pull and bag this invasive plant if you spot it at your home.

July 17, 2021 - Thank you to the volunteers who helped pull diffuse knapweed out at Harrenburg Wash this morning! We filled over 20 bags with this invasive weed. This volunteer event is part of a grant from the Arizona Water Protection Fund to enhance Harrenburg Wash. Curious about Northern Arizona Invasive Plants? Check out https://nazinvasiveplants.org/. 

July 9, 2021 - Join Coconino County Parks & Recreation for a Weed Pull at Harrenburg Wash and help get invasive weeds under control! July 17 & August 28 from 8-10 a.m. Meet at Harrenburg Wash Trailhead in Kachina Village. Please wear sturdy shoes and sun protection, bring a refillable water bottle and a friend. We will supply disposable gloves and trash bags. View the flyer.

May 28, 2021 - Last week, Coconino County Parks & Recreation and Public Works staff met with team members from Natural Channel Design for a site visit of Harrenburg Wash to review the engineering and construction work that will take place this fall as part of the Harrenburg Wash Enhancement Project. Natural Channel Design is providing engineering services on this project as part of a grant from the Arizona Water Protection Fund. On the (very) windy Friday, the group walked the length of the wash, visually inspected the headcutting that is taking place, and asked questions. This week, Natural Channel Design contractors will begin spraying for diffuse knapweed, an invasive plant that thrives in disturbed habitats.

Project Description

Coconino County Parks and Recreation was awarded an Arizona Water Protection Fund grant from the Arizona Department of Water Resources to conduct the Harrenburg Wash Enhancement Project. This project will enhance the riparian habitat at Harrenburg Wash which is part of Pumphouse County Natural Area, located approximately ten miles south of Flagstaff in the community of Kachina Village. The grant award is $129,190.

The project will focus on: channel restoration; treating invasive weeds; incorporating re-vegetation efforts along the channel, in the uplands and in an old parking area; outreach, monitoring, and maintenance; and other items that will contribute to higher riparian quality.

Harrenburg Wash is located just upstream from its confluence with Pumphouse Wash, both of which are in the Upper Verde River Watershed and are the headwaters of Oak Creek Canyon. The wash and associated wetland habitat have been impacted by several factors that are now causing downstream channel erosion due to high water velocity; channel head cuts; and the invasion of non-native weed species.

“The Pumphouse County Natural Area is home to numerous species of birds and wildlife, which is why this project to restore the landscape to a more natural state is of the utmost importance especially as invasive species threaten this special place. Coconino County is grateful to the Arizona Department of Water Resources for these funds which will bring about renewal for our native vegetation, improve the quality of our water and continue to provide opportunities for recreation for the people of the county and our visitors,” said Coconino County District 3 Supervisor, Matt Ryan.

After the grant project is implemented, visitors to the Harrenburg Wash area will experience improved water quality, more plant and animal diversity with the addition of more native plants and forbs, cottonwoods and willows, less invasive weeds, and increased recreational opportunities.

Natural Channel Design is providing engineering services on this important project, with construction expected to take place in early fall 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why is Coconino County Parks & Recreation doing this project? There is severe headcutting in Harrenburg Wash that will continue up the wash unless it is addressed. This restoration work will address the headcutting and contribute to less soil erosion here and downstream.
  2. What is headcutting? Headcutting is a process of erosion that occurs when the stream channel length grows in the headwaters or when the channel is adjusting its slope. Generally it is caused by sheet, rill and gully forming erosion. If you want to learn more, a good resource is Stream Processes for Watershed Stewards (August 2006) produced by the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Office: https://extension.arizona.edu/sites/extension.arizona.edu/files/pubs/az1378g.pdf 
  3. How long with the trailhead be closed? Part of this project will involve construction work in the wash. Construction is slated to begin in October or November 2021 and will continue for about one month. Since this area will be an active construction site, the trailhead will be closed at that time. Please help with everyone’s safety and stay away from construction equipment.
  4. This project is focusing on invasive plants, specifically diffuse knapweed. How can I identify diffuse knapweed and keep it out of my yard? Check out this website, A Northern Arizona Homeowner's Guide to Identifying and Managing Invasive Plants, at https://nazinvasiveplants.org/. You can see more photos of diffuse knapweed at https://nazinvasiveplants.org/diffuse-knapweed. If you spot diffuse knapweed, pull it and bag it so that the seeds do not spread.