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Cienega Creek Natural Preserve

Perennial stream flow with natural pools of water and lush riparian vegetation. A ciénega is a wetland system unique to the southwest U.S. and northern Mexico. The Cienega Creek watershed is essential for Tucson’s water health as it contributes about 20% of the natural recharge to the Tucson Basin groundwater aquifer.

The state of Arizona has lost over one-third of its natural wetlands. Learn from the natural abundance of this surviving wetland ecosystem, and get inspired to strive to collaborate with it in a way that sustains and helps grow it. The more we give back more water (such as with passive rainwater harvesting and natural recharge) than we take from the aquifer (with extractive pumping), and the more we preserve and restore natural living sponges such as these riprarian wetlands and their upland watershed’s vegetation and other life, the more we help such wetlands.

Note that the proposed Rosemont Mine would be in the cienega/Tucson watershed and would likely seriously impair our water and ecosystem.


Cienega Creek Natural Preserve, 16248 E Marsh Station Rd, Vail, AZ
32.01443065249942, -110.64760463560943

Hours: Dawn to dusk

Cost: Free permit

Dogs allowed on leash

Once in the waterway, you can walk up or down it. No official trail.

Beware of flash floods in the rainy season.

For more information on the Cienega Watershed see

natural oasis

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