The San Pedro River Featured as Arizona River of the Month

The last undammed desert river in the American Southwest is a globally important bird refuge and holds tremendous archeological value.

November 1, 2012
Contact: 
Jocelyn Gibbon, (602) 510-4619-c, jgibbon@edf.org
Jennifer Witherspoon, (415) 293-6067, jwitherspoon@edf.org

(PHOENIX—November 1, 2012) This week the San Pedro River was profiled as the “River of the Month” in a year-long series celebrating Arizona's centennial year. The river profile released today by five conservation groups is the eighth in the “Celebrating Arizona’s Rivers” series, which raises awareness about the ecology and geology of rivers in Arizona as well as the uses they serve and the threats they face.

The San Pedro River originates in Sonora, Mexico and flows into the United States near Palominas, Arizona, where it enters the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA). Created to protect the ecological, archeological, scientific, cultural, educational and recreational resources of the river, the SPRNCA covers nearly 57,000 acres of riparian habitat.

“The San Pedro watershed represents one of the largest healthy riparian woodland ecosystems in the Southwest – an ecosystem type that has rapidly declined in the region over the past 100 years,” say the conservation organizations in the River of the Month profile.

The San Pedro watershed is an essential wildlife corridor and supports over 80 species of mammals, including the endangered jaguar and Mexican grey wolf, 14 species of native fish and more than 350 species of birds. Its status as a “globally important bird area” as designated by the American Bird Conservancy is reflected by the millions of migratory birds that use the San Pedro at some point in their lives.

While the San Pedro supports an array of wildlife, demand for water by a growing population has reduced the water table due to groundwater pumping, increasing threats to the ecosystem. The challenges of sustaining the San Pedro have inspired many collaborative restoration and conservation efforts to preserve one of Arizona’s last free-flowing rivers.

The River of the Month series profiles one of Arizona's rivers each month. It is produced by Environmental Defense Fund, Grand Canyon Trust, Sierra Club, Sonoran Institute, and Western Resource Advocates, with technical assistance provided by the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center. Previous profiles—starting with a feature of the iconic Colorado River—may be downloaded from Environmental Defense Fund, Sonoran Institute, or Western Resource Advocates, and interested groups and individuals may sign up here to receive a notification when a new profile is released.

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