Old Water and New Knowledge at Cienega Creek

“How old is your water?” That’s not a common question among water users, or even in water education, yet it’s high on the list for Dr. Jennifer McIntosh. She’s an Associate Professor in Hydrology & Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona whose focus is the elemental and isotopic chemistry of water. For her, estimating the age of water can be a key tool in understanding the structure and functioning of aquifers. More…

Monsoon and Frogs at Empire Gulch

Gulch is a vivid name, suggesting hot sun on a jumble of rocks, some bleached cattle bones lying in the dust, a crusty prospector leading a mule into the hills, temperatures over 100 degrees, and occasional torrents of water. But Empire Gulch this August morning, just steps away from the surrounding Sonoran Desert, was shady, cool, deserted, covered with a carpet of greenery, and sporting a muddy stream channel winding through its downed timber.

Included is a return visit from Francisco Eduardo Valdés Acuña.

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Controversy at Ciénega Creek

The Empire Ranch entrance road transports its travelers from 21st century Sonoran Desert – scattered desert scrub, paved highways, speeding traffic, Border Patrol checkpoints, copper mine arguments – into a world of different dimensions. More…

The View from López Pass

López Pass sits at 5305 feet above sea level in the middle section of Santa Rita Ridge, the northern arm of the Santa Rita Mountains in southern Arizona. It offers an expansive view – west to the Santa Cruz Basin, and east to the Cienega Basin.

And, at the time of the full moon, it is the place to have a conversation with Francisco Eduardo Valdés Acuña.

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Mountain Springs at Rosemont

Springs were once plentiful along the slopes of the Santa Rita Mountains, the broken rocks of the mountains leaking moisture down the slopes to support sedge, a few sycamore or sometimes willow and cottonwood trees, Sonoran Desert wildlife, and eventually men and cattle. Most of the springs are gone now, or much diminished. The men are also gone, but not diminished. More…