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  • CR4.09 Dakota Wash Site Acquisition

    Total Actual Cost: $599,942
    Project Number: CSUDAKOTA
    Funding Sources: 2004 General Obligation Bonds
    Completion Date: December 2011
    Managing Dept.: Office of Sustainability & Conservation
    Project Map: GIS Map

    The County has acquired 23.46 acres encompassing the central area of the Dakota Wash archaeological site, in southwestern Tucson on the west side of South Mission Road. The site was acquired to establish a special Conservation Area to protect and preserve as much of the cultural and historical significance of these ancient ruins as possible.

    The Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan identifies the Dakota Wash Site as one within an important complex of several ancient Hohokam villages near the West Branch of the Santa Cruz River occupied from A.D. 450 to A.D. 1150. Dakota Wash is the earliest settlement in the complex and it grew to a sizeable village with a ball court, central plaza, and hundreds of residential pit houses. 

    Dakota Wash is a significant cultural resource containing dense deposits of buried cultural materials important to understanding the prehistory of the Tucson Basin. The Tohono O’odham Nation considers Dakota Wash an ancestral site. The site has been acquired as one of the “last of the best” of Pima County’s cultural resources to conserve and protect from encroaching development and to preserve them for the future of Pima County.

    The Conservation Area also preserves natural Open Space in urban Tucson, including important native plant and animal communities. Most of the property is within the conservation Lands System category of Important Riparian Area because Dakota Wash drains through to the Santa Cruz River, providing a corridor for wildlife movement between the river and the Tucson Mountains.

    The project was substantially complete with the successful acquisition of the Dakota Wash Conservation Area, but the site remains extremely vulnerable to impacts from surrounding neighborhoods as recreation pressure increases in urban Tucson. Efforts continue to protect and preserve the resources, with fencing and signs planned around the property using funds remaining from the acquisition. Impacts from natural causes, like the ongoing erosion of the Dakota Wash channel, pose serious threats to the resources that are being addressed in partnership with the Regional Flood Control District. A comprehensive Management Plan is also being developed.

    Dakota Wash Site AcquisitionDakota Wash Site AcquisitionDakota Wash Site Acquisition
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