It’s no coincidence that both human civilizations and wildlife have chosen to live along the San Pedro River for many thousands of years. The fossil remains of great woolly mammoths still lie only a few feet beneath the ground near the river, as do artifacts from the Clovis civilization that hunted them, as recently as 11,000 years ago.
Many different cultures have come and gone since, and the wildlife we see today along the river are very different. But the precious water of the San Pedro River, and its lush streamside habitats continue to offer food and shelter for birds, fish, and mammals and shady trails for birdwatchers, hikers, and horseback riders in the otherwise arid environment.
In 1988, Congress designated the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, or “SPRNCA,” as the nation’s first Riparian National Conservation Area along 43 miles of the river to protect these natural and cultural resources. However, the demands for the water that sustains all life in the region have become increasingly challenging to meet, especially during periods of prolonged drought.
The Cochise Conservation and Recharge Network, or the CCRN, is a collaborative partnership that began in 2015 to implement tangible water management projects that will increase water availability to meet current and future water demands in the region. Local and federal partners have joined forces to develop innovative projects for a resilient water supply for both people and nature along the San Pedro River. These projects are designed to work together to help sustain San Pedro River flows and the groundwater on which our local communities and the river depend. Take a virtual tour of the project sites alongside 25 miles of the San Pedro River in Cochise County, Arizona.