Pima County / EPA, AZ

Commited to environmental excellence

Pima County RFCD / US EPA
Pima County / EPA, santa cruz river, az

macroinvertebrate/vegetation assessment

Harris Environmental has completed more than 10 years (2013-2023) of macroinvertebrate and periphyton sampling and stream habitat analyses at four reaches along the Santa Cruz River in Tucson and Marana, AZ, through US EPA funding implemented through Pima County. We determined baseline conditions of stream habitat prior to water facility treatment upgrades in 2013, and continue to provide monitoring to evaluate ecosystem health over time through a standard rapid stream assessment approach that includes macroinvertebrate and periphyton sample collection and analyses to compute biotic indices for indicating changes in stream health. We have also conducted measurements of cover percentage of all streamside herbaceous plant species to document changes in wetland plant status and nitrogen affinity, as well as woody riparian tree and shrub surveys to document growth, survival, and density. Vegetation surveys have evolved into a collaborative effort with the University of Arizona and Pima County on assessing and monitoring vegetation characteristics along these same reaches of the Santa Cruz River, and comparing on-the-ground survey results with those collected via aerial imagery. Harris Environmental continues to collaborate with Pima County on providing results for these efforts that are presented within the Living River project, which provides baseline data on the Lower Santa Cruz River system.

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