Cañada del Oro

To provide comments on this watershed for consideration in the Floodplain Management Plan, contact Greg Saxe
Planning Manager
(520) 724-4633.
The Cañada del Oro’s headwaters originate in the Santa Catalina Mountains at an elevation of 8,000 feet. Two of its largest tributaries, Big Wash and Sutherland Wash, drains the western slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains and the eastern slopes of the Tortolita Mountains. The Cañada del Oro Wash and Big Wash enter Pima County from Pinal County near the community of Catalina. The Cañada del Oro Wash has very steep and rocky upper slopes and flash flooding is a significant concern. There are a number of at-grade wash crossings that can be extremely hazardous during flows, including where the Cañada del Oro Wash crosses Overton Road. Fires on Mount Lemmon can significantly increase the risk of flooding in this area. This watershed is comprised of 86,415 acres and contains 4,763 acres of SFHA, 371 acres of locally identified floodplain and 6,444 acres of Pima County Regulated Riparian Habitat.

Flood Hazards


Click HERE to view the watershed map
Click HERE to view the outreach brochure
Click HERE to view the hazard map

Floodplain Studies

Floodplain Study FP-005-1986 - Highlands Wash Basin Management Plan Report, A-N West, Inc., July 15, 1986 and Phase III Final Report, Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc., 1/25/1990.

Floodplain Study FP-009-1988 - Sutherland Wash, H&H Report, PC DOT&FCD, 8/9/1988.

Floodplain Study FP-016-2006 - [Upper] Canada Del Oro Wash Letter of Map Revision Study, David Evans and Associates, 10/28/2004.

Floodplain Study FP-022-1992 - 27 Mile Wash Flood Plain Delineation Study, Collins-Pina Consulting Engineers Inc., August 1992

Floodplain Study FP-041-2000 - Chaparral Heights -- annexed by Oro Valley.

Erosion Studies

There are currently no erosion studies in this watershed.

Areas of Interest (Known Issues, Gaps, Problems and Needs)

Issues Provided by Public and Stakeholder Input

No issues have been identified to date.

Issues from the District Flood Response Manual

8.7.1 Data Gathering Needs
• No site specific issues identified.

8.7.2 Frequently Flooded Structures and Properties Subject to Damage
• 4335 E. Wilds Road. (222-35-018A) Flow breaks out of the channel in this area at around 1500-2000 cfs. (T11S R14E Sec. 15)
• 4525 E. Golder Ranch Road (222-35-039D) is subject to erosion damage from a tributary to the Canada del Oro (T11S R14E Sec. 15)
• 14350 N. Lago del Oro Parkway (222-47-0030), structures in the floodway. (T11S R14E Sec. 22)

8.7.3 Infrastructure
• Carmack Wash is eroding laterally towards Shannon Road. Sediment and water overtops Shannon Road as well. (T13S R13E Sec. 04)
• Carmack Wash is down-cutting the channel downstream of Ina Road. (T13S R13E Sec. 04)

8.7.4 Safety Concerns
• There is an unpermitted berm in the floodway at 15900 N. Lago del Oro Parkway (222-32-0040) that may not be designed to withstand flood forces. (T11S R14E Sec. 11)
• Flow breaks out of the primary channel near Golder Ranch Road at around 1500-2000 cfs. (T11S R14E Sec. 15)
• Overton Road is a dip crossing where the Canada del Oro crosses it. It can experience significant flows due to rainfall far up in the watershed. The road is frequently closed due to flow across the road. DOT Operations monitors this crossing regularly for washouts. (T12S R13E Sec. 22) 


Recommendation of Actions and Floodplain Management Strategy

This section to be completed based on feedback received through the planning process.