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150+ Volunteers Armed with GPS to Map Flow of San Pedro River

Follow dedicated volunteers; talk to water expert about future

June 11, 2012

Who: 150+ volunteers will be on foot, armed with GPS technology, measuring where water is present on the San Pedro River. Long standing volunteers say the rewards of having great wildlife encounters, rare access to scenic stretches, and knowing they are having a positive impact outweigh extreme heat, quicksand and other challenges.  

What: 14th annual San Pedro River mapping to determine where water is present 

Dozens of partners coordinate this massive effort that covers over 220 miles within the San Pedro River Basin. In addition to local residents along the river, the partners include the Bureau of Land Management, Community Watershed Alliance of Benson, the Cascabel Working Group, our Mexican partners and landowners. 

When: Saturday, June 16 at 6 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 

Where:  The San Pedro River from its headwater streams in Mexico to the confluence with the Gila River near Winkelman, AZ. Also tributaries of the San Pedro including the Babocomari River, Aravaipa Creek, Hot Springs Canyon and many other smaller tributaries, covering over 220 river miles. 

Why: The increasing human 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 water was present in 33% 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 we need 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 14th year of mapping, our science shows us that our conservation actions are starting to have a positive impact. But, there is much more work to do! Some of the big conservation projects underway involve partnering with private landowners, ranchers, local state and federal agencies in both the U.S. and Mexico. Over time, these efforts will help to ensure that the river continues to flow.

To learn more about the San Pedro wet/dry mapping, visit

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at

Contact information

Tracey Stone
The Nature Conservancy in Arizona

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