By Joshua Bowling | Arizona Republic
Jackie Meck steps out of the car and onto the sand, leaving a trail of footprints as he straightens his cowboy hat and walks west. What was once his childhood fishing hole along the Gila River is all but dry asthick stands of invasive trees dam the river’s flow.
Meck, the longtime mayor of Buckeye, and others say the scrubby trees, called salt cedars, have shot out of the ground and threaten public safety.
The trees have also thrown a wrench in Buckeye’s plans to develop along its stretch of the Gila River.
A pair of bills in the state Legislature could help the Phoenix suburb secure funding to clear the trees and restore the river’s flow, but officials aren’t sure it will be enough.