November 19, 2009

Protection Upcoming For Tres Rios Area

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas recently called for an increased law enforcement presence in the Tres Rios riparian area, which encompases the 200-acre Base and Meridian Wildlife Area, to combat numerous illegal activities near the confluence of the Salt, Gila and Agua Fria rivers west of Phoenix.

Thomas said he decided to provide leadership and coordinate agencies to bring the area, site of the annual Tres Rios Nature and Earth Festival, back to ecological health after reading in the local media about numerous illegal activities in the area.

"Lately. . .the Tres Rios refuge has become a dumping ground for transients, for smugglers of drugs and humans and other criminal offenders," said Thomas. "They leave behind trash that has choked the riparian habitat, including tires, abandoned cars and cattle carcasses. In addition, illegal fish, poaching and weapons violations are commonplace."

Thomas' office prepared a procedure to ensure investigation and prosecution of crimes that occur in the Tres Rios area. Meanwhile, Avondale Assistant Police Chief Lynn Parkin said police are stepping up patrols and undergoing training to enforce laws. Other agencies involved include the Goodyear Police Department, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Rod Lucas, Game and Fish Department Region VI supervsior, said his agency will coordinate clean-up efforts and welcomes volunteers. Individuals wanting to help should contact Les Bell at 602-942-3000 or go to http://www.azgfd.gov/ and click on "Inside AZGFD" on the menu on the left.