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Our Work, By The Numbers

You don’t last as a nonprofit 501c(3) for over 30 years without making a significant positive impact. At the Sonoran Institute, we make sure to keep ourselves accountable for success. Here are the communities we’ve worked with over the last 30 years and counting. Here are some of the results:

Help Us Keep It Going!


Local Investment


Acres conserved and protected


Community leaders/activists trained


Native tree seedlings planted in the Colorado River Delta region.

Our Success Stories

We’re more than conservationists. We work to protect the environments, economies and communities of the West, through unique programs and initiatives.

Laguna Grande, a Comeback Story

“We will be able to take what we have learned in Laguna Grande and apply it on a larger scale, throughout the entire river corridor and beyond.” —Karen Schlatter, associate director of the… MORE ›

Conserve2Enhance: Harnessing the Power of Neighbors to Fix Flooding Problems

“For me, one of the coolest parts about the project is that we’re creating something beautiful.” —Allie Silber, teacher at Tucson’s Sky Islands High School Water is the Southwest’s most precious resource, but… MORE ›

Santa Cruz River: Paradise Lost, Paradise Reborn, Will it be Lost Again?

The federally endangered Gila topminnow had not been seen in its native habitat, the Santa Cruz River, for more than a decade. Then, in December 2015 they came back.

What Can a River Teach us?

The sun is just rising through their school bus windows, but these fourth graders aren’t going to school. Instead, they are doing something some of them have never done before; they’re taking a… MORE ›

Mexicali Fluye: Getting Good Things Flowing in Our Communities

There was no way to avoid it. A mountain of old tires, plastic containers, household garbage, and other assorted junk piled up to four times their height loomed just steps away from the… MORE ›

The 21st Century’s Gold Rush—Done Right: A Collaborative Approach to Advancing Renewable Energy in the West

It was the environmental community’s dream—and its nightmare. Large-scale clean energy production in the West was finally feasible, but the sudden interest in developing it threatened millions of acres of unspoiled vistas, wildlife corridors, and habitat on public lands across the region.

Restoring the Colorado River Estuary

Innovative. Collaborative. Turning the impossible to possible. That is what we are doing in the Colorado River Delta and our newest effort in the estuary—one of the most productive and endangered ecosystems on earth—combines these themes.

Phoenix’s West Valley
Protecting the Crown Jewel of Phoenix’s West Valley

Helping establish the White Tank Mountains Conservancy builds on our long tradition of incubating new community conservation organizations – now more than 2 dozen that have conserved more than 145K acres of public & private lands, and raised more than $206 million – dedicated to protecting local natural and cultural resources.

From Sewage to Sanctuary: Las Arenitas Treatment Wetland

Green infrastructure—using nature’s ability to provide the same services associated with more conventional “grey” infrastructure—offers tremendous ecological and economic benefits. Nowhere is this more evident than on a 250-acre wetland we created to treat wastewater and serve as a refuge for birds and other wildlife in the Colorado River Delta.

Celebrating Collaborative Conservation and Twenty Years of the Las Cienegas NCA

In a different time, with a different cast of characters, the fairgrounds could easily have turned into a battleground. Instead, this 1995 meeting proved to be the beginning of one of the most successful and enduring collaborative conservation efforts in the nation.


Our Programs

Colorado River Delta Program

A Resource Worth Saving The Colorado River once formed a lush delta teeming with birds and aquatic species as it flowed into the Gulf of California. Historically, it covered more than 3,000 square… MORE ›

Resilient Communities and Watersheds

Within the Colorado River basin, the combination of over allocated water systems, rapid population growth, and increasing uncertainty in the face of climate change requires…

Santa Cruz River

The Santa Cruz River has provided life-sustaining water for more than 12,000 years. Climate aridification and a century of overuse has negatively impacted the river, however we can continue to restore its vitality.


Thriving, Resilient, in Balance

We are making sure that water flows in the rivers of the West for generations to come.

You have the dedication, hope and resilience our region needs.

Your commitment to protecting natural resources makes incredible things happen.


Featured Items

Annual Report 2020 (English)
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A Living River: Supplementary Data for Northwest Tucson to Marana 2013 to 2019 water years
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Nourish and Sustain – Vision 2020-2025 (English)
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