Leaked report discloses harm to San Pedro River caused by Fort Huachuca

The consultant’s report for Fort Huachuca was drafted nearly a decade ago but wasn’t disclosed until now. It predicts continued drying along multiple stretches of the San Pedro River.
/Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star File

By Tony Davis | Arizona Daily Star  

Groundwater pumping done by and caused by Fort Huachuca has already harmed the San Pedro River — the Southwest’s last free-flowing desert river — and will hurt it more in the future, says an internal report done for the fort by a private consultant.

The report, written nearly a decade ago but not publicly disclosed until now, showed that pumping attributable to the U.S. Army fort has hurt the long-imperiled river since 2003. Written by the firm GeoSystems Analysis Inc. of Tucson, the report said the pumping:

Dried up two stretches of a major San Pedro tributary, the Babocamari River, in 2003.

Will dry up four stretches on the Babocamari and another section of the San Pedro by 2050.

Three of those same stretches will still be dry on the Babocamari in 2105, including the point where the tributary enters the San Pedro.

The stretches that already dried up, or will, each run 820 feet, or more than two football fields long.

The 2010 report, marked “Confidential — For Official Use Only,” was made public last week by Robin Silver, a Flagstaff environmentalist who said it was leaked to him by a source he would not name.


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December 2019