Rio Sonoyta, a rare lowland desert stream and spring that supports important riparian and migratory bird assemblages and endangered native fishes and turtles, faces major threats such as groundwater withdrawal, unmet infrastructure needs (e.g., modern sewage treatment facilities), and invasive exotic species. Maintaining and improving function of the Rio Sonoyta ecosystem is critical to the conservation of migratory birds and other sensitive species as well as to public health in the municipality of Sonoyta. A cornerstone in achieving this is the need to develop a biological baseline and monitoring plan in concert with community outreach. We propose to use Sonoran Joint Venture funds to support the first year of riparian bird monitoring and community outreach, both critical and complementary steps to improving the function of Rio Sonoyta. Over the course of the project we will (1) maintain and increase listed, sensitive, and other native species diversity and abundance; (2) increase community stewardship of Rio Sonoyta resources; (3) increase opportunities for sustainable economic development (i.e., ecotourism) and recreational use in the area; and (4) improve hydrological function and maintain water quantity, improve water quality, and decrease human exposure to sewage and trash.
Eduardo Gómez Limón