Joined: 26 Jul 2006
Location: Phoenix "Valley of the Sun", Arizona, USA
|Posted: Fri Jul 28, 2006 8:37 am Post subject: Gilbert Water Ranch and the Riparian Institute...twebster
|Submitted by twebster...
Since the "Favorite Locations Forum" was my idea, allow me to make the first post.
I have recently "discovered" the Gilbert Water Ranch and the Riparian Institute located in Gilbert, Arizona, USA. If you are into bird photography and dragonfly photography this is "The Place" to go in the Phoenix, Arizona, USA, Metropolitan area. The Gilbert Water Reserve is located at the southwest corner of Guadalupe Rd and Greenfield Rd. There is a second facility, the Neeley Ranch Preserve, is located south of Guadalupe Rd on Cooper Rd in Gilbert, Arizona, USA. (I have not visited this facility yet but plan on doing so later this week.) You can learn more about the Riparian Institute and the Water Ranch at the official Riparian Institute website.
Water Ranch Lake
There are seven ponds at the Gilbert Water Ranch covering 110 acres. The lake, above, is the "show" lake and fishing lake located behind the Gilbert Public Library and the Riparian Institute headquarters. The lake is stocked with many types of game fish and is open to anglers carrying an Arizona State urban fishing license. Trout (in the winter), bass, and channel catfish are the main sport species.
An artificial "showcase" stream.
A small portion of the Water Ranch is occupied by well-tended, "showcase" features, such as the artificial stream, above. There is a rather lavish cactus garden, complete with Saguaro cactus, clean and modern restroom facilities, as well as well-tended lawns and even a "dinosaur digging" area for youngsters who are interested in learning more about dinosaurs!
Typical holding pond.
However, the bulk of the Water Ranch is occupied with holding ponds, such as the one, above. These ponds hold wastewater that has been treated by the Town of Gilbert. The cleaned wastewater is allowed to percolate back into the ground water reserves or it may be pumped out of the ponds to keep local golf course ponds filled. Gilbert has resolved to recycle 100% of the wastewater the city produces!
My "Multipurpose Marsh(a)" behind the "The Multipurpose Marsh" interpretive sign.
The berms between the seven ponds act as the walkways through the Water Ranch. The berms are heavily planted with different types of riparian plants representing the major types of riparian habitats found in Arizona. The walkways have interpretive signs along the paths that explain the roles of the various elements of the riparian habitat. The plants are planted in such a manner as to afford each pond a great degree of privacy against the intrusions of city life. With such a high degree of diverse plant species there results a high degree of animal diversity. The area is literally teaming with insects of great variety making this a macrophotographer's dream come true.
The Town of Gilbert is to be applauded for having the foresight to create and develop such a wonderful public resource. It is rare, even in our desert environment, to find a municipality so aware of the need to conserve, and utilize to the fullest, such a precious commodity as water. My hat's off to the Town of Gilbert!
Best regards to all, as always,
Phoenix "The Valley of the Sun", Arizona, USA
The worst day photographing dragonflies is better than the best day working!