Rapid Stream Riparian Assessment (RSRA)

In 2015 Friends of Sonoita Creek invited Dr. Pete Stacey, retired professor of Conservation Biology at the University of New Mexico, to train members on how to conduct a Rapid Stream Riparian Assessment (RSRA) in Sonoita Creek.  RSRA objectively evaluates the existing conditions of the stream-riparian ecosystem. If problems are discovered, management strategies and restoration efforts can be put into place to mitigate any further issues and work toward building a healthier stream.

In the spring of 2015 FOSC conducted our first RSRA on Sonoita Creek in the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve. We went back again in the spring of 2016 and 2019 and surveyed the same stretch of creek as per protocol. Our finding was that there was little change in the creek during those surveyed years.

In October of 2016 ten people in two teams conducted a RSRA on Sonoita Creek upstream from Patagonia Lake and downstream from a head cut. We went back to re-survey the area in April 2017 and 2019. Our findings were that the head cut is moving upstream and the stream is severely entrenched and much of the bank in our study reach was unstable. The resulting sediment increase can disrupt eco-systems if it gets too high.

We try to do a RSRA yearly so if interested in being trained and helping us with our efforts please contact: or

Measuring Entrenchment

Wet/Dry Mapping

FOSC will be conducting our first Wet/Dry mapping in June of 2021 and need your help! If interested contact Kathy Pasierb:

Wet/Dry mapping provides a snapshot for monitoring flow conditions in streams with interrupted surface flow. It can flag changes in local groundwater conditions and may provide early warning of ecological changes. Wet/dry mapping, spearheaded by The Nature Conservancy, has been conducted on the San Pedro River for over 12 years.