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Canoa Ranch

Project Status: Ranch improvements are currently ongoing. The Polinator Garden and Cienega are complete.

Historic Canoa Ranch is the ranch headquarters at the heart of the 4,800 acre Raul M. Grijalva Canoa Ranch Conservation Park, which Pima County purchased in 2001 using voter-approved bond funds. The facility preserves a rich record of the prehistoric people, Native Americans, Spaniards, Mexicans and Anglos who were drawn to the area by natural springs. Pond, Cienega, Polinator Garden

There is evidence of pre-historic human habitation dating back to 2500 B.C. The Hohokam lived in the area from 600 to 1450 A. D. and the Tohono O’odham called it home starting in the 1600s. Father Eusebio Francisco Kino passed by the Canoa Site in the 1690s on the way to what would become Mission San Xavier del Bac and the City of Tucson. In 1775, Juan Bautista de Anza led a 240 person expedition to northern California. The group spent its first night at La Canoa, which is Spanish for canoe.

Mexican and Anglo settlers came to the area in the mid-to late 1800s, but it was during the Manning era (1912-1970s) when the full potential of the ranch was realized. The Manning family turned Hacienda de la Canoa into a showcase ranch and community worked by both Anglo and Mexican families.

Pima County’s recently completed construction at Historic Canoa Ranch has rehabilitated the once-crumbling adobe buildings and re-established historic landscapes such as Canoa Lake. The site is now open to the public for guided tours, special events, bird walks and workshops.

Canoa entry signOpen spaces and our historic past both help define us as a community. Visitors to Historic Canoa Ranch are able to step back in time and catch a glimpse of what life was like on a traditional cattle ranch, a lifestyle that has evolved yet continues to define the independent, diverse and distinctive culture of communities in the southwest.

For more information please visit the Natural Resource, Parks and Recreation Department's Historic Canoa Ranch website.

Canoa Ranch Cienega and Pollinator Garden

The Regional Flood Control District (District) supports native habitat and wildlife through ecosystem restoration efforts at Canoa Ranch. One way to accomplish this goal is through the construction of a cienega and pollinator garden.

A cienega is a Spanish term for marsh or wet meadow, and seasonal or permanent cienegas are increasingly rare in the desert southwest. The saturated soils are dominated by low growing sedges, rushes, and grasses tolerant of salty, alkaline conditions.

Pond restoration and cienega improvements will include grading, drainage, and landscaping. Pollinator garden improvements will include landscaped paths and irrigation.

A drone video below shows an overview of the pond and cienega improvements.

Project Documents

The District is focused on construction of the cienega, but is currently planning for future phases. The following documents are available for viewing.


In the News

New wetland at Canoa Ranch could see birds, birders flocking, GV News January 14, 2020
New pollinator garden at Canoa Ranch draws them all, GV News, August 26, 2020
Birding at Historic Canoa Ranch, GV News, YouTube Video
No Fishing: Endangered Desert Pupfish Finds a Home at Canoa Ranch, GV NEWS 09/30/2020


The District will be installing an irrigation pump and pipe intake system in the southeast corner of the pond. There will be minimal impacts to the public, although the portion of the path at the southeast corner of the pond will be closed temporarily to place the line under the path. It is anticipated that installation for this phase of project will be completed in early January 2020.

Current construction involves trenching and installation of electric conduit to three of the buildings at the ranch. Construction is confined to the area east of the ranch house buildings with minimal impact to the public interior to the facility. It is anticipated that construction for this phase of the project will be complete at the end of January.

In the News

From potential subdivision to historical site, county continues to preserve and improve Canoa Ranch , GV News February 4, 2020

In-Lieu Fee Restoration

The restoration project includes water harvesting basins, irrigation, and native plantings grown by Pima County Native Plant Nursery. The project is located across 30 acres and is east of the Pollinator Garden.

Visitors to Canoa Ranch are asked to obey the construction signage and refrain from entering an active construction site with open trenches for their own safety.