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El Rio Medio Environmental Restoration

Study status:  In cost-benefit analysis phase 


El Rio Medio Environmental Restoration Feasibility Study seeks to determine the feasibility of providing habitat restoration along both banks of the Santa Cruz River from Congress to Prince Road. The study was initiated as a collaborative effort between the Pima County Regional Flood Control District and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. In September of 2005 the City of Tucson officially joined the study as an additional local sponsor.

This study is in the process of analyzing the potential to restore and enhance native vegetation and habitat in the channel, tributaries, banks, and overbank areas. Additional elements that have or are being considered include recreational improvements, cultural resource preservation, groundwater recharge, water supply-recharge, and flood damage reduction.

Project Schedule

An Existing Conditions Report was completed in 2005. The Plan Formulation Phase started with a public Plan Formulation Kick-Off meeting on January 18th, 2006, hosted by the City and the District. Local sponsors, other stakeholders, and USACE utilized the public input contributed during a Plan Formulation Workshop in the April of 2006. For the past two years the Study team used the public input to create a matrix of alternatives for both ecosystem restoration and water supply-recharge. Twenty seven alternatives were created for consideration. Through various USACE screening and cost-benefit analysis, a final array of three ecosystem restoration alternatives has been determined. These alternatives are currently undergoing additional internal review.

The draft feasibility report for public review is expected in 2009.


The following meeting and event information is available:

The City of Tucson, in cooperation with Pima County and The Corps of Engineers, will host future public meetings to discuss El Rio Medio. This page will be updated once more information is available.