2014 Annual Report


25 Years Strong, Shaping Our West

For over 25 years, Sonoran Institute has been a pioneer in efforts to unite and celebrate the best of Western culture, history, nature and urban spaces by making connections, seeking practical solutions and promoting long-term sustainability. View and download our 2014 Annual Report to see all that we've done up through 2014 and what we plan on doing as we move forward.

2040 Vision

  Stategic Framework Cover

Strategic Framework

For the last 25 years, we have been successfully helping people in the West build the communities they want to live in while preserving the West that brought them here. Discover our vision for our next 25 years. 

Our Letter to You

Read our 2040 Vision 

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 Living River Upper SCR

Living River - Upper Santa Cruz River


The Santa Cruz River as it flows downstream of the Nogales International Wastewater Treatment Plant is around 20-miles between Rio Rico and Amado, Arizona. This portion of the river can be roughly divided into three reaches (stretches of river): Rio Rico, Tubac, and Amado (see map).

In 2005 there was a significant die-off of cottonwood and willow trees along an 8-mile stretch of the river near Rio Rico. This event surprised many and was the necessary catalyst for developing the Living River report. Our goal was to develop a tool that would help track river conditions, with the hope that such events could be avoided in the future.


How does the report work?

20090424_Monitoring_Training_39Numerous groups research and monitor conditions along the Upper Santa Cruz River. The Living River report builds on these efforts by annually tracking 10 indicators grouped in two main categories. The selected indicators represent important components of riparian and aquatic ecosystems (see below). Monitoring results are summarized for a given water year (October 1 – September 30) and evaluated against an appropriate standard set by federal and state regulatory agencies or the scientific community. Many of the standards are set by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).

Many organizations conduct ecological monitoring along the Santa Cruz River providing the important data for the Living River report series. Read more about who contributes data to the Living River series.


Read the full report - A Living River: Charting the Health of the Upper Santa Cruz River




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2008 Water Year 2009 Water Year 2010 Water Year  


Click an icon below to view a quick summary of the data from the 2008, 2009, and 2010 water years side-by-side

Aquatic Indicators

1DissolvedOxygen 2Ammonia 3Phosphorus 4Ecoli 5Metals 6MacroInvertebrates2011 7Fish2011

Riparian Indicators

8DepthtoGroundwater2011 9GroundwaterVariability 10RiparianVegetation