Charting the Health of The Upper Santa Cruz River
Arizona's Santa Cruz River is a vital resource for communities in the United States and Mexico, yet it suffers from competing demands for its water, serious water quality issues and the withering effects of climate change. Actively involved in river research since the early 1990s, the Sonoran Institute and its partners are currently working through the Santa Cruz River Civic-Science Conservation Initiative to achieve creative solutions to the river's woes.
"Creating lasting change is possible when we start with scientific research, use that data to work with policymakers and then uti¬lize the policies to encourage public education," explained Amy McCoy, manager of the Institute's work on the Santa Cruz River.
A recent health assessment of the river—a snapshot of its condition from October 2007 to September 2008—flags major water quality concerns. "The report generates the kind of information that energizes conversations—and ideally actions—to define and maintain healthy river conditions," said McCoy. As part of the project, the Institute is working to further involve communities in sustainable water-use education like water harvesting.