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Feb 2011

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

Dale Turner and Holly Richter
Freshwater Assessment
Riparian-aquatic
San Pedro River
Abstract

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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(ALL RIGHTS GRANTED TNC) View of Escudilla Mountain. Fall colors heighten the natural beauty of forest and meadow in the White Mountains, one of Arizona’s last wide-open spaces and where TNC works to protect the headwaters of three major Arizona rivers: the Salt, Gila, and Little Colorado and their greenbelts – riparian habitats critical for wildlife and water quality – as well as restore healthy forests within the largest ponderosa pine community in the world, save rare and unique wildlife and plant species, and control non-native, invasive species, such as crayfish, Arizona. © Betsy D. Warner/TNC
Aerial view of the Parks West restoration site overseen by TNC. Taken March 16, 2020.
Conservancy staffers, Dale Turner and Amanda Rebore, helping to map the Sabn Pedro River in Arizona. They use a GPS unit to denote the end of the water flow on the LowerSan Pedro River. They hiked through the Conservancy’s San Pedro Preserve.

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The Nature Conservancy’s conservation science program in Arizona engages stakeholders and expertise in applied science and policy to develop new information, ideas, and tools that can help solve some of our most pressing challenges affecting people and nature

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We are working with partners and stakeholders to accelerate the pace and scale of forest restoration for a healthy Arizona

Mapping the Status of River Streams

Wet/dry mapping provides a low-cost, river-wide snapshot of hydrologic conditions for rivers with interrupted perennial surface flows.

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Nov 2022
Maps
BLM, NGO
Freshwater Assessment
Riparian-aquatic
San Pedro River
Dale Turner, Brooke Bushman, Lisa McCauley
San Pedro River Wet/Dry Map Animation
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. Twenty years’ worth of data on summertime surface flows in the San Pedro River within the San Pedro Riparian National C[…]
Nov 2022
Maps
BLM, NGO
Freshwater Assessment
Riparian-aquatic
San Pedro River
Turner, D., L. McCauley
San Pedro River Wet-Dry Maps
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[…]
Mar 2022
Papers
Arizona
Climate Change, Fire, Forest Restoration Benefits
Forest
USGS
Lisa A. McCauley, John. B. Bradford, Marcos D. Robles, Robert K. Shriver, Travis J. Woolley, Caitlin A. Andrews
Landscape-scale forest restoration decreases vulnerability to drought mortality under climate change in southwest USA ponderosa forest
Drought is projected to increase tree mortality in many western US forests due to climate change and could result in large-scale tree die-offs, altering forest composition and ecosystem services. Tree mortality has also been found to be higher in forests with greater tree density. Southwestern US fo[…]