The Effluent Dependent Santa Cruz River and Simpson Farm In-Lieu Fee Project
This field trip will visit a part of the Santa Cruz River that flows year-round due to treated effluent. The effluent now much clearer and nearly odorless thanks to a recent $242 million overhaul at the Tres Rios Water Reclamation Facility at Ina Road. Treated wastewater is discharged to the Santa Cruz river bed, where it recharges the aquifer and maintains lush riparian vegetation and diverse bird life. Come see the flowing Santa Cruz River yourself. Learn how recent upgrades in water quality, flood flows, and other factors are affecting plants and animals along the river. Your field guides at the first stop will be Julia Fonseca, Pima County Office of Sustainability and Conservation, and Daniel Bunting, Harris Environmental Group (HEG). HEG is monitoring vegetation for Pima County and Sonoran Institute as part of the Living River Project.
The second part of the field trip will feature the Simpson Farm In-Lieu Fee Project. The Simpson Farm restoration project area is located along the Santa Cruz River near Trico Road, on City of Tucson land, where effluent flow was perennial until the recent upgrades. Your field trip guide will be Jonathan Horst, ecologist with Tucson Audubon Society, who will show you what was achieved at the site under the historic mitigation rule and entertain a discussion of floodplain restoration constrained by severe societal and environmental factors.