$100K Raised For Quitobaquito Springs Restoration Project

By Alisa Reznick, AZPM
Published: Monday, June 7, 2021 - 8:02pm
Updated: Tuesday, June 8, 2021 - 1:28pm

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National Park Service
The pond at Quitobaquito Springs.

The National Park Service is getting money from an Ajo community organization for a restoration project at Quitobaquito Springs — the ancient desert water source and Indigenous site along the border at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

Quitobaquito has sustained life for centuries. But scientists and activists were alarmed last summer when spring flow dropped historically low and cracked mud flats appeared in the manmade pond — all while former President Trump’s border wall inched closer.

Aaron Cooper with the International Sonoran Desert Alliance says drought and record heat pushed the site to the brink. His organization has collected $100,000 to help protect it.

"So this will do what we’re calling phase one, and phase one is sort of redoing the retention structure in a way that hasn’t been done for probably 50 years," said Cooper.

Cooper says that will include redoing the pond’s liner to protect against leaks and evaporation — a project that will use some $250,000 worth of donor and the park service money. Once contracts are awarded, Cooper says work could begin as early as this summer.

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