Contacts - Santa Cruz River

Claire Zugmeyer

520.290.0828 x 1143

Ian Dowdy
Sun Corridor Program Director

602.393.4310 x 308

Santa Cruz River Watershed


Santa Cruz River Initiative Overview


View a complete list of publications.

Santa Cruz River Featured Video

Reclaiming an Oasis in the Desert
Tony Paniagua, Arizona Public Media 

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Home Where We Work Arizona Santa Cruz River

Santa Cruz River Initiative 

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The Santa Cruz River has drawn people to its life-giving waters for over 12,000 years. Rain coursing down mountainsides replenishes the river as it flows over 200 miles through desert communities in southeastern Arizona, northwestern Mexico, and the Tohono O’odham Nation. 

Modern society has stressed this water system, and much of the Santa Cruz River is dry.  A few of the sections of the Santa Cruz with year-round water depend primarily on treated wastewater, or effl uent, released into the riverbed. This practice supports wetland habitats that are not only becoming increasingly rare but are some of last living examples of the river heritage that long supported people in the region.

thumb_SCRInitiativeThe Santa Cruz River Initiative is focused on restoration of watershed health with an aim to improve local water supplies. Our overall goals are to: secure river fl ows, improve water quality, protect and raise groundwater levels, reduce water runoff by enhancing infitration, and bring the successful model to other communities. Read more in the Santa Cruz River Initiative summary.


 Learn more about the Initiative's Activities:



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News & Updates

2013 LRCover webNew Living River Report - October 2014 Sonoran Institute and Pima County have released the first report focused on the Lower Santa Cruz River. Learn more about the Living River Project and read this report.


C2E New Projects Funded - August 2014 Three new projects receive a total of over $13,000 in funding! Learn more about C2E and the new projects.

Join Sonoran Institute at the Desert Museum - August 2, 2014 Sonoran Institute will be showcasing our work on the Santa Cruz River as part of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's "Conservation Night". We'll have a free drawing for one of Jeff Smith's prints - whose work was featured in the  article on the Santa Cruz in Edible Baja (See more of his work). Read more about this event. 

“July/AugustEdible Baja Features Santa Cruz - July 14, 2014 Edible Baja Arizona included a feature article on the Santa Cruz River and Sonoran Institute's work to protect our river heritage. Get your copy today or read it online

Read more: News & Updates


Additional Information

A Binational River - The Santa Cruz River has the unique designation of being the only river to cross the border with Mexico twice. Learn more about the Santa Cruz River Watershed.

In the Media - Santa Cruz River related work completed by Sonoran Institute and partners has been lucky to get some good media coverage. Learn more about media stories featuring our work.

Ecosystem services - The Santa Cruz River offers numerous benefits to local communities. Learn more about Ecosystem Services.

Project Support - We are fortunate to work with and receive support from so many! Learn more about our Partners and Funders.