The University of Arizona

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

SNRE Adjunct Professors publish environmental history of Arizona river

Monday, May 19, 2014

Current SNRE Adjunct Professors Bob Webb and Julio Betancourt (USGS), former Adjunct Professor Roy Johnson (National Park Service), and University Emeritus Professor Ray Turner have coauthored a just-released book published by the University of Arizona Press. Requiem for the Santa Cruz: An Environmental history of an Arizona River http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/Books/bid2477.htm. The book uses field evidence and historical archives to track the evolution of water development and floodplain changes along Santa Cruz River as Tucson evolved from mud-walled village to modern metropolis. The book commemorates the many victims of unsustainable water development, including the loss of groundwater levels high enough to discharge along the valley floor and support local ciƩnegas, the destruction of a unique mesquite bosque with diverse birdlife, and conversion of an unstable arroyo into a cemented ditch that serves little ecological function. The authors argue that the Santa Cruz River of old can neither be restored nor revived, and a new and sustainable course must be engineered that minimizes flood risk while maximizing a token list of ecological goods and services.