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Lower Santa Cruz River Living River Project



Through the Regional Optimization Master Plan (ROMP), two major regional wastewater treatment plants were fully upgraded to become compliant with U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) standards. Higher quality effluent began to be discharged into the Lower Santa Cruz River (LSCR), and Pima County received a grant from the EPA to evaluate the effect of the effluent  water quality on the LSCR wetland. Using the successful EPA-funded “Living River” series implemented by the Sonoran Institute as a model, Pima County developed a monitoring strategy and similar reporting tool for the LSCR. with the assistance of a subject matter experts and stakeholders.

Project Overview

The Lower Santa Cruz River in northeastern Pima County is Arizona’s longest effluent-dependent river and creates the County’s principal wetland habitat. Significant steps were taken through ROMP to improve wetland ecosystems along the LSCR. The Living River project serves to track numerous environmental outcomes including increased understanding of wetland conditions, and improved public understanding of the value of wetlands. 

The Pima County Regional Flood Control District leads this project with assistance of the Pima County Regional Wastewater Department, Natural Resources Parks and Recreation, the Sonoran Institute and other subject matter experts and stakeholders.

Project Publications

The Sonoran Institute's Living River search page will take you to directly to a search page containing reports, blog posts, and more related to the Living River work along the Santa Cruz River.

Other project publications can be found in the tabs below. Other resources can be found at Research Papers and Reports page