On March 22 and 24, CLIMAS and the WRRC’s Water RAPIDS team partnered with the Town of Patagonia to hold a Drought Planning Workshop and field trip in one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse areas of southern Arizona. Both events were convened in Patagonia as part of an ongoing collaborative project with CLIMAS to develop drought planning response options specific to the Town’s unique context. The workshop brought together local stakeholders including representatives from the Town of Patagonia, Santa Cruz County, Friends of Sonoita Creek, Tucson Audubon Society, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Borderlands Restoration Network, and highly engaged community members. Opening remarks from Vice-Mayor Michael Stabile and Town Manager Ron Robinson put ongoing community work into perspective, highlighting the exceptional partnerships that drive watershed health efforts in the region. WRRC staff shared the results of our data collection, drought policy review, and drought indicators development to inform productive discussions focused on drought response options.
Two days later, on Friday, March 24, the WRRC team returned to Patagonia for a field trip to explore the perennial and ephemeral reaches of Sonoita and Harshaw Creeks. The group visited the Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds to learn about restoration projects along Sonoita Creek. The team then visited TNC’s Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve, where we learned about their stream and well monitoring efforts, as well as the various collaborations of local organizations to connect riparian restoration and trails projects to the regional watershed. After lunch, the group then went on a watershed tour by car with the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance, traveling from Sonoita Creek to its confluence with Harshaw Creek and up to the potential impacts of regional mining operations. The WRRC is grateful to all of our Patagonia friends for sharing their expertise, passion, and commitment.