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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Status of the Upper San Pedro River (United States) Riparian Ecosystem

Authors
item Stromberg, J. - ARIZONA STATE UNIV.
item Dixon, M. - ARIZONA STATE UNIV.
item Scott, Russell
item Maddock, T. - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
item Baird, K. - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
item Tellman, B. - UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA

Submitted to: Ecology of Desert Riparian Ecosystems: The San Pedro River Example
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2006
Publication Date: April 15, 2009
Citation: Stromberg, J., Dixon, M.D., Scott, R.L., Maddock, T., Baird, K., Tellman, B. 2009. Status of the Upper San Pedro River (United States) Riparian Ecosystem. In: Ecology and Conservation of the San Pedro River. Ed. by J. C. Stromberg and B. J. Tellman. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. p.371-387.

Interpretive Summary: Rivers are products of their watersheds. Thus, a riparian preserve can be affected by off-site activities that alter the hydrologic cycle. This issue is of increasing national and global concern and is exemplified by the case of the Upper San Pedro River. Much of the Upper San Pedro watershed is under state and private ownership and is steadily urbanizing. There are concerns that the riparian ecosystem is being affected by human actions, notably groundwater pumping, occurring beyond the riparian conservation area borders. In this chapter we review scientific issues that underpin the San Pedro riparian conservation challenge. We also summarize results of modeling exercises that project effects of watershed development on riparian groundwater levels and stream flow, and effects of hydrologic change on riparian vegetation; such studies can help to determine workable solutions to water management challenges. We conclude by discussing the role of long-term monitoring in determining whether management actions are achieving desired outcomes.

Technical Abstract: In this chapter we review scientific issues that underpin the San Pedro riparian conservation challenge. After considering what ecological conditions people are striving to maintain, we ask, "How much water does the San Pedro River need?" and "Where does this water come from?". Next we explore the factors contributing to observed changes in San Pedro River stream flows and riparian vegetation, and review management actions implemented to achieve sustainable water use. We also summarize results of modeling exercises that project effects of watershed development on riparian groundwater levels and stream flow, and effects of hydrologic change on riparian vegetation; such studies can help to determine workable solutions to water management challenges. We conclude by discussing the role of long-term monitoring in determining whether management actions are achieving desired outcomes. We do not definitively answer the question our chapter title poses; rather, we provide a progress report.

Last Modified: 10/30/2014
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