Freshwater assessment reports & data

San Pedro River Wet-Dry Maps (September 2017)

The San Pedro River wet/dry mapping dataset is a community effort to track the river’s health by monitoring the persistence of surface water during the driest time of each year. It is created by recording the end points of every wet section of the San Pedro River during June each year. Maps depict the wet portion of the San Pedro River.

San Pedro River Wet/Dry Map Animation (October 2017)

Every June groups of volunteers walk the entire 170 mile length of the San Pedro River and record where it is wet and where it is dry during the hottest, driest time of the year. Sixteen years’ worth of data on summertime surface flows in the San Pedro River within the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA) are now available as an animation. Watch to see the changes in surface flow over time. These observations were recorded by citizen scientists through the Wet/Dry Mapping project- a collaboration between TNC and the Bureau of Land Management on this particular reach of the San Pedro River.  Follow this link to see what they found from 1999 to 2015 on the approximately 50 miles of the San Pedro River that flows through the SPRNCA.

Notes about the data and animation:

  1. Use the play, pause, and advance buttons at the bottom to view the animation.

  2. Use the plus or minus keys to zoom in on portions of the river.

  3. Survey dates varied from year to year, but have been standardized to June 29 for purposes of this animation.

  4. Although the animation time scale at the bottom indicates a one year date range, the data shown is actually the annual standardized June 29th survey date. To make the scale date appear as that one point in time, click on and drag one of the time markers on top of the other.

Go to the animation

Paleoenvironmental Framework for Understanding Desert Ciénegas (November 2013)

The history of ciénegas in the American Southwest over the last 8,000 years provides information on the dynamics of growth, longevity, and stability of these wetland habitats under previous climate conditions. Ciénega surfaces alternate between wetland and dryland phases, identified by changes in pollen preservation and isotopic signatures. This study presents a conceptual model on the controls for different ciénega states and how the paleoenvironmental record of change can be used in conservation, restoration, and management of these critical habitats.

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Wet/Dry Mapping: Using Citizen Scientists to Monitor the Extent of Perennial Surface Flow (February 2011)

Published in Environmental Management, this article describes a simple method for monitoring the flow status of interrupted perennial streams, with the example of a 12-year effort on the San Pedro River. We found that surface flow increased for parts of the river, apparently due to conservation actions, while other parts were stable or may have declined. The data allowed us to map areas with surface flow in every year, totaling 32% of the river length through the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA). These maps show areas with high year-to-year variation in flow length, which indicate changes in local groundwater conditions and may provide early warning of ecological changes.

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Arizona Statewide Freshwater Assessment GIS Data Package (December 2010)

Includes 4 GIS datasets mapped to 1:100,000 scale stream-based hydrography for Arizona, including 1) the habitat for 33 native fish species, 2) former and current perennial surface flow for Arizona’s rivers, 3) the distribution of threatened and endangered species (ESA) that require aquatic or riparian habitats, and 4) Wild and Scenic River designations. Updated Dec 2010.

Sustainable Water Management in the Southwestern United States: Reality or Rhetoric? (July 2010)

Published in PLoS ONE, this study used four scenarios to explore the potential effects of alternative growth and water management strategies on river flows. Under the base population projection, we found that rivers in seven of the 18 study watersheds could be dewatered due to municipal demand. Our approach provides a low-cost method to identify where alternative water and growth management strategies may have the most impact, and demonstrates that such strategies can maintain a continued water supply for both people and the environment.

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Ecological Implications of Verde River Flows (February 2008)

Verde Flows report cover

Presents a literature review and results of a May 2007 workshop where 35 subject experts from 16 agencies and institutions synthesized the state of knowledge for central Arizona’s Verde River. Report describes the river’s ecosystem, including its hydrology, geomorphology, riparian, and aquatic habitats, and fish and wildlife species – and how components would respond to changes in surface- and groundwater flows.

Habitat Mapping and Conservation Analysis to Identify Critical Streams for Arizona’s Native Fish (November 2007)

Describes the methods used to develop a GIS dataset for 33 native fish species in Arizona, presents results of some analyses using the data, and describes the data’s utility for the conservation of native fish. This is a preprint of an article published in Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, Vol. 17: 737-748 (2007).

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