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Santa Cruz River Wildlife Ramp

Project Status: The project is currently under design for FY 22/23. A future construction start date will be forthcoming.


Through the Santa Cruz River Management Plan (Plan, 5SCLIV), a stakeholder driven process, the Pima County Regional Flood Control District (District) identified improvements in the Santa Cruz River corridor between Grant Road and Twin Peaks Road. The Plan identified the importance and need for wildlife connectivity to the Santa Cruz River east of the El Rio Preserve.

Need Statement

Separately, the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan identified a need to provide wildlife connectivity across the Concept drone photoSanta Cruz River and adjacent areas so that wildlife can migrate from the Tortolita Fan to the Tucson Mountains and Avra Valley. The El Rio Preserve location was selected due to an abandoned existing underpass at Interstate-10 which allows for connectivity under the Interstate. However, the soil cement levee on the east bank of the Santa Cruz remains an obstruction to wildlife because it is fairly steep. This project will design and build a wildlife friendly ramp into the Santa Cruz, connecting the underpass to the Santa Cruz River. An Interstate frontage road and railroad crossing is being master planned by the Pima County Office of Sustainability and Conservation.

Scope of Work

The project is currently envisioned to consist of two phases:

Phase 1
• Wildlife Crossing Ramp
• Pedestrian Bridge
• Soil Cement Bank Protection
• Asphalt Pathway

Phase 2
• Landscaping Restoration
• Wildlife Fencing

Project Documents

Initial Design Concept, dated December 14, 2022