Southern Arizona volunteers document springs in sky island country

By Ron Dungan
Published: Monday, December 12, 2022 - 10:00am

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Although big water projects such as dams are front and center when Arizona cities talk about their water supply, the state’s wildlife relies on natural sources, like springs.

A nonprofit is doing a survey on springs in the southern Arizona area known as sky island country.

Southern Arizona is known for patches of high-elevation mountains that rise up out of the desert.

They’re called sky islands, and they’re home to some of the state’s unique species of birds and other wildlife.

For the last couple of years, the Sky Island Alliance has enlisted volunteers who visit southern Arizona to enter data on springs in the area.

Sarah Truebe, a spokeswoman for the Alliance, says the survey can help identify water sources that need restoration.

“So that’s a lot of opportunities to work with land owners to fence off the springs source but then provide a water source for the cattle by diverting a little bit of that water,” Truebe said.

She says the region may have as many as 4,000 springs.

To learn more about the program, visit

Sky island country
Ron Dungan/KJZZ
Sky island country near Sonoita, Arizona.