120 + Volunteers Armed with GPS to Measure Water on San Pedro River

Hear first-hand volunteer experiences; talk to water expert about future

Tuscon, AZ | June 16, 2014

Who: 120+ volunteers will be on foot, armed with GPS technology, measuring where water is present on the San Pedro River. Volunteers say the rewards of having great wildlife encounters, rare access to scenic river stretches, and knowing they are having a positive impact outweigh extreme heat, quicksand and other challenges.

What: 16th annual San Pedro River mapping to determine where water is present. Dozens of partners coordinate this massive effort that covers more than 300 miles within the San Pedro River Basin. In addition to local residents along the river, there are many partners including The Nature Conservancy, the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Borderlands Restoration, Arizona Game and Fish, Community Watershed Alliance of Benson, Cascabel voluneers, and Mexican partners and landowners among others.

When: Saturday, June 21 from 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Where: The San Pedro River, from its headwater streams in Mexico to its confluence with the Gila River near Winkelman, tributaries of the San Pedro including the Babocomari River, Aravaipa Creek, Hot Springs Canyon and many other smaller tributaries, covering more than 300 miles. When this effort began in 1999, volunteers mapped 50 river miles.

Why: The increasing demands for water coupled with drought conditions continue to affect water availability in the San Pedro River Basin for both people and nature. Because the extended drought continues, this project is increasingly urgent to determine long-term trends. Last year’s mapping revealed that water was present in 32-percent of the river overall in late June before the monsoon rains began. By determining what areas no longer flow via the annual mapping, the Conservancy and many partners can determine where to focus conservation projects. The health of the San Pedro is important to our future, and the millions of birds that use this migratory pathway each year.

Impact: As we move into our 16th year of determining where water is present on the river, our science shows us that our conservation actions are having a positive impact. In fact, this mapping information, along with USGS monitoring data has helped the Conservancy, Cochise County and Fort Huachuca design an innovative regional recharge effort designed to put more water back in the ground, improving the river’s health, and increasing groundwater supplies for both people and nature. Construction of the first recharge facility for stormwater, including specialized infiltration trenches and dry wells is underway right now.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at www.nature.org. To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit www.nature.org/global. To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Tracey Stone
The Nature Conservancy in Arizona


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