Springs are keystone ecosystems in the Sky Island Region, exert disproportionate influence on surrounding landscapes, and are known to be biodiversity hotspots. Although they are abundant in this arid region, they are poorly documented and little studied. They also suffer from extensive human modification and are among the most threatened ecosystems. Lack of information on their location, management context, and biological, hydrological, and ecological characteristics hinders effective stewardship of these resources. We developed new information regarding the biological and management status of springs in the Sky Island Region of southeastern Arizona. We employed a combination of expert and citizen science inventories and assessments to collect critical baseline information on known springs in areas of interest and priority for managers in the region. This volunteer-driven inventory program is a model for monitoring climate sensitive resources with limited resources.
New information on the spatial location, temporal attributes, and the biological, hydrological and geomorphological status of springs was applied to management through formal adaptation planning. Data collected through this project and previously existing data from the various cooperating agencies is now available online regionally and internationally through the Springs Inventory Database. This database provides a much-needed landscape level context for making management decisions. Other project components included extensive coordination with resource managers, an interactive map of springs that have been surveyed and survey information, and site-specific management planning for springs.