About Us

Founded in 2004, Friends of Sonoita Creek (FOSC) works to protect and restore
the water and natural habitat of Sonoita Creek and its watershed.

In 2004 Ron Hummel saw a need to establish a communication link between Patagonia Lake State Park and the community it served. He called a meeting of interested folks and during that meeting the Friends of Sonoita Creek (FOSC) was founded. The FOSC’s initial mission focused on the Sonoita Creek section below the dam and key issues that pertained to the Sonoita Creek Natural Area. It has since expanded to focus on the whole of the Sonoita Creek Watershed.

In 2006 FOSC Ron Hummel called a meeting of Stakeholders. They outlined the potential reduction or disappearance of the above ground flow of Sonoita Creek which supports the extraordinary biodiversity of the area. The preliminary report addressed the watershed, stream flow, water uses and rights and water budget. It concluded that there is much uncertainty about the future of surface water flows in Sonoita Creek. It notes that there has been very little investigation of the hydrology below the dam. Previous studies focused on the Town of Patagonia and The Nature Conservancy’s Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve sections of Sonoita Creek.

In May of 2017 a Sonoita Creek Watershed Plan was developed that addresses some of the preliminary findings in the 2006 report prepared by Ron Hummel and the  Stakeholders. → SonoitaCreek-WMP-5-12-17 (PDF)

Board of Directors

Andrew (Andy) Gould is a retired teacher and inveterate naturalist/volunteer. He lives in Patagonia Lake Estates and Flagstaff. He also hikes many miles and you might see him tending trails in the Sonoita Creek State Natural Area and The Nature Conservancy’s Patagonia-Sonoita Preserve. Andy is Team leader for the Research Team and serves on the Leadership Team.

Dave Christiana, Treasurer: Dave is a retired hydrogeologist now living at Lake Patagonia Ranch. He has 27 years experience in environmental consulting and government service. He retired from the Arizona Department of Water Resources where he worked in aquifer recharge, wells and permitting, and riparian conservation. He earned a Masters Degree in Hydrology from the University of Arizona and has had a special affinity for Sonoita Creek since he was a graduate student. Dave became a Friends of Sonoita Creek member in 2019, and joined the Board in 2020. He obtained training in Rapid Stream and Riparian Assessment with the Friends and has participated in assessments along Sonoita Creek upstream from Patagonia Lake State Park and at the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve.

John Hughes has been visiting southwest Arizona since 1997 and moved to Patagonia full-time in 2018. He taught biology in Kalispell, MT for most of his career.  John loves all things nature and, along with his work with Friends of Sonoita Creek, volunteers with local groups including Borderlands Restoration Network’s plant propagation program, Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds and Patagonia Lake State Park.  He leads bird and plant walks.   

Cholla Rose Nicoll was born in Tucson, AZ and was raised by environmentally conscious parents who instilled a love for nature and solar energy in their children. Cholla has an associate degree in veterinary technology and a BA degree in sustainability studies both acquired through Colorado Mountain College.  Cholla has a background in wildlife rehabilitation and conservation particularly with habitat restoration facilitated by the North American Beaver. Cholla currently works seasonally with Borderlands Restoration Network and The Nature Conservancy along with raising a family in Patagonia, AZ. Cholla serves on the Leadership Team.

Robert Proctor is a descendant of a Pimeria Alta Pioneer family and now serves as Curator of the George Redondo Proctor Western Heritage Collection at Canoa Ranch and Patagonia Museum. He was a masonry contractor for 40 years: 15 years in New Mexico specializing in solar adobe construction and 24 years in Hawaiian custom homes. He is an expert in energy efficient Rumford fireplaces and masonry furnace combinations. He now serves as an advisory member of Community Water Coalition of Southern Arizona and is our organizer for booth set-up and take down.  Bob Serves on the Leadership Team.

Greg Scott earned degrees from University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.  He has lived in Santa Cruz Co. and taught school here for over 30 years.  Greg guides history and natural history trips in Northern Mexico, presents programs for the Arizona Humanities Council, volunteers for Arizona State Parks, and is an archeology site steward.  Greg lives in Nogales and Elgin.

Kathy West, Secretary: Kathy has a B.S. in Forest Management from Washington State University and a certificate in Permaculture Design from Antioch University. She has volunteered for the children’s nature program at Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum, led bird walks for the Seattle Mountaineers Natural World course and volunteered for wildlife rehab and various animal rescue organizations.  After retiring in 2015 she moved to Patagonia and started volunteering at the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve. It soon became apparent how important Sonoita Creek is to the areas flora and fauna and that the creek needs protecting. A member since 2016, joining the Board in 2020, Kathy is excited to be a part of FoSC whose mission it is to protect this rare perennial stream and surrounding habitat.