Gila Topminnow Riverside Picnic Dinner

June 23, 2018
All ages welcome

Celebrate the return of the Gila Topminnow and the flowing Santa Cruz River that created its healthy habitat. Toast to the Topminnow and view new artwork on the Loop Path in its honor. Don’t worry, the highly treated wastewater in the river is clean, without a strong smell!

This is a DIY event: Bring your own meal (plus blanket, chairs, table, candles) and gather at Christopher Columbus Park. Leave no trace: Pack out everything you pack in & respect the no-open container law.

Use #GilaTopminnow to document your experiences and the topminnow, when you see one, on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). The fish won’t see it, but the people will.

Christopher Columbus Park
Ramada #5 (Northeast side of the lake)
4600 N. Silverbell Rd., Tucson, AZ 85745



(Photo by Brian Gratwicke, Wikicommons)


The Gila topminnow, a tiny Sonoran Desert native fish was discovered in the flowing stretch of the river (just north of Sweetwater Wetlands) in November 2017, after 70 years away. Its return is thanks to improvements to the Pima County wastewater treatment plants, which puts treated wastewater into the riverbed. Following a 2013 facility upgrade, the now cleaner water has created the preferred habitat for the fish, plus an improved flowing river for the rest of us!

In June, a new project brings artwork honoring the fish and its return to our Living River, to the Loop and to urban locations around town.

The project is a collaboration between local artist Kimi Eisele, the Pima County Office of Sustainability and Conservation, and the Sonoran Institute, with funding from the Center for Performance and Civic Practice’s Catalyst Initiative.