Cochise Conservation & Recharge Network
Cochise County is a key partner in the Cochise Conservation and Recharge Network (CCRN) along with the Cities of Sierra Vista and Bisbee, The Nature Conservancy, Fort Huachuca and the Hereford Natural Resource Conservation District. CCRN is an innovative series of projects capable of increasing flows in the upper San Pedro River, conserving groundwater and improving the health of riparian habitat. The regional network of projects encompasses 6,344 acres of land along approximately 25 miles of the river where replenishment can most benefit the flows of the river.
Completed CCRN Projects
- The Sierra Vista Environmental Operations Park (EOP) was the first aquifer replenishment project, which began operating in 2002. Since then, it has put back into the ground approximately 2,700-acre-feet of water each year.
- The Palominas Flood Control and Recharge Project, constructed in 2014, was a pilot test to evaluate designs of future projects where more runoff is available to be captured. This project serves as a model for additional recharge projects along the river. A detailed description and illustration of this project can be found by reviewing the Palominas Project Summary Handout (PDF).
- Horseshoe Draw, which controls erosion and recharges stormwater, began operation in 2017.
Future Stormwater & Effluent Recharge Projects
- The Bella Vista Coyote Wash Urban Enhanced Runoff Recharge Project, currently under design, is expected to be shovel-ready for construction in Spring 2020. A second public meeting regarding the preferred alternative design was held in Sierra Vista on July 1, 2019. The presentation can be found by viewing the Coyote Wash Urban Enhanced Runoff Recharge Project (PDF).
- Productive recharge locations at the Riverstone site, near Hereford, have also been identified if source water there becomes available.
- Three Canyons is a retired alfalfa agriculture operation on the west side of Palominas Road where the County is monitoring groundwater levels and exploring options for enhancing stormwater recharge.
CCRN projects have led to approximately 3,000 acre-feet per year of groundwater savings, meaning that they have reduced historic pumping or prevented future pumping by that amount. Rigorous monitoring of all the facilities using a variety of technology and methods is an important part of understanding the impact of the CCRN's recharge efforts. This also includes the measurement of baseline conditions in future project areas that have not yet been constructed. The results of monitoring are reported on an annual basis.
To see the results from the 2019 monitoring year (published July 1, 2020): Full Report (PDF) or for a summary, Highlights from the 2019 Hydrologic Monitoring Program (PDF).
The County continues to play an important role in the planning, design, construction, and monitoring of all projects in the network.