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Tucson Field Office
Release Date: 06/04/13
Contacts: Tracey Stone 602-738-1586    

150 + Volunteers Armed with GPS to Map Flow of San Pedro River

Who: 150+ volunteers will be on foot, armed with GPS technology, measuring where water is present on the San Pedro River. Volunteers say the rewards of having great wildlife encounters, rare access to scenic river stretches, and knowing they are having a positive impact outweigh extreme heat, quicksand and other challenges. 

What:  15th annual San Pedro River mapping to determine where water is present. Dozens of partners coordinate this massive effort that covers over 270 miles within the San Pedro River Basin. In addition to local residents along the river, the partners include the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Community Watershed Alliance of Benson, Cascabel Working Group, our Mexican partners and landowners.

When:  Saturday, June 15 at 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Where: The San Pedro River, from its headwater streams in Mexico to its confluence with the Gila River near Winkelman,. Tributaries of the San Pedro including the Babocomari River, Aravaipa Creek, Hot Springs Canyon and many other smaller tributaries, covering over 270 river miles. When this effort began in 1999, volunteers mapped 50 river miles. BLM National Conservation Lands include the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness.

Why:  The increasing human demands for water coupled with drought conditions continue to affect water availability in the San Pedro River Basin for both people and nature. Because the extended drought continues, this project is increasingly urgent to determine long-term trends. Last year’s mapping revealed that water was present in 29 percent of the river overall in late June before the monsoon rains began. By determining what areas no longer flow via the annual mapping, the Conservancy and many partners can determine where we need to focus conservation projects. The health of the San Pedro is important to our future, and the millions of birds that use this migratory pathway each year.

Impact:  As we move into our 15th year of mapping, our science shows us that our conservation actions are having a positive impact. But, there is much more work to do! Some of the big conservation projects underway involve partnering with private landowners, ranchers, local state and federal agencies in both the U.S. and Mexico. Over time, these efforts will help to ensure that the river continues to flow, supporting local communities, agriculture and wildlife.

To learn more about the San Pedro wet/dry mapping effort, visit

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2014, the BLM generated $5.2 billion in receipts from public lands.

Last updated: 06-04-2013