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  • Writer's pictureMark L. Johnson

TA Tidbits #14-TA In Action

Updated: Jul 11, 2021

Drew and Hannah King sporting their Tortolita Alliance (TA) Tee Shirts in front of the Strong Arm saguaro cactus in the Tortolita Preserve. Drew and Hannah are son and daughter of TA members Darren and Amanda King.


There is a quite a bit going on in the Tortolita region. Here is an update on actions taken by TA to support our mission.

Natural Undisturbed Open Space (NUOS)

Marana is proposing to adopt new Subdivision On-site Recreational Area standards. TA submitted a Comment Letter (9/21/20) with several comments/suggestions. One major comment/suggestion is to amend Title 17-Environmental Resource Preservation, Native Plant Protection and Landscape Requirements to require a Site Resource Inventory (SRI) and require (no option) a minimum of 30% of the site be preserved as Natural Undisturbed Open Space (NUOS) for all proposed subdivisions. This would be in addition to any on-site recreational areas and stormwater channels/basins.

Recently, Marana approved the Tortolita Ridge subdivision with 45% NUOS (7.8 acres NUOS out of 17.2 acres total)! See map below. TA provided a Comment Letter (11/16/20) commending Marana and suggesting this consideration of NUOA should be the path forward for all subdivisions.

Unfortunately, they did not do this for the Tortolita 30 subdivision just down the road which was approved with only 5% NUOS or less! Marana needs to be consistent and provide for a minimum of 30% NUOS.

Please inform the Mayor, Interim Town Manager, Development Services Director and Town Councilmembers that you support the need for NUOS and TA's comments.


As previously reported in Mandarina on Tangerina, TA submitted a Comment Letter (11/8/20) on this proposed 342 acre subdivision at the intersection of Tangerine Road and the I-10/Union Pacific Railroad corridor. TA's letter was discussed at the 11/10/20 Marana Town Council Study Session and it appears they are taking our comments on stormwater seriously and taking a closer look at the stormwater issues related to this project.

Got Gas (Pipeline)?

Mystery solved! After months of investigation, TA has finally discovered why the existing utility easement area in the Tortolita Preserve is staked and trees/shrubs flagged. See photos above. Southwest Gas is proposing to install a 6" high pressure gas pipeline in the same general area as the existing side-by-side 30' TRICO electric easement and 40' Pima County Wastewater easements. See red highlighted area in map below. Incredibly, Southwest Gas did not inform Marana, TRICO or Pima County Wastewater about this project! TA will be meeting with Southwest Gas representatives in the next few weeks to get more details and answer the following questions:

  1. Why is this gas pipeline being installed?

  2. Exactly where is the gas pipeline being installed?

  3. What construction methods will be utilized (open cut, directional bore, jack & bore)?

  4. How will saguaros and other native plants be protected?

Wildfire Hike/Report-Pima County

As reported in Tortolita Mountain Fires Aftermath, TA Members Joe Thomas and Kit Nidever hiked to the Dove Fire burn area and took photos and plotted the size of the burn area. This information was provided to Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation. We received the following complimentary email from Don Carter (Natural Resources Park Manager):


Thank you and the other members of the Tortolita Alliance for the hard work and diligence the group put into this report. The information contained in the report will be used for future fire ecology research and will prove valuable to the Fire Effects Information System (FIIS), which records fire effects on plants and plant communities. I look forward to continuing to work with your group and hope that the Tortolita Alliance continues to provide Pima County and Marana with updates and observations of Tortolita Mountain Park.

Thank You again!

Don Carter

TP Partners Update

TA continues to work with Marana Parks & Recreation, Marana PD, Southern AZ Trail Riders and Tucson Roughriders to solve the issue of OHVs, cattle and associated cattle watering tank in the Tortolita Preserve (TP). Fencing the western permitter of TP is the ultimate solution but we continue to work on interim solutions. We heard from Lieutenant Brunenkant (Marana PD) on 11/9/20 with the following report:


I am still waiting on a response from the AZ State Land Department, however I can tell you I did some digging and approached this from a different angle.

I made some additional phone calls to the Department, which I hope will get this water tank issue resolved sooner. I will keep everyone updated; hopefully this week.

Lt. Brunenkant

Cactus Chaser Mountain Bike Time Trials

Marana Parks and Recreation is sponsoring a mountain bike time trial called the Cactus Chaser in the Tortolita Preserve on 12/19/20. You can register on-line at the previous link. TA will be providing information on our organization at this event.


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