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A riparian zone is the interface between land and a flowing surface water body. Riparian zones are significant in ecology, environmental management and civil engineering due to their role in soil conservation, their biodiversity and the influence they have on aquatic ecosystems.

Lowland leopard frogs rely on riperian habitat (Photo: ALWT)

A watershed is a region enclosed by a continuous ridge of high ground forming a divide between two different drainage basins or river systems. A riparian zone is the interface between land and a flowing surface water body. Riparian zones are significant in ecology, environmental management and civil engineering, due to their role in soil conservation, their biodiversity, and the influence they have an aquatic systems. Understandably, the highest levels of biodiversity in the Sonoran Desert occur where water accumulates.

The Arizona Land and Water Trust helped Pima County acquire the 366-acre Madera Highlands property to protect the Altar Valley Wash floodplain and to keep the property from being developed. Travelers along the scenic Sasabe Highway continue to enjoy unspoiled views of the Baboquivari Mountains, Coyote Mountains Wilderness Area, Cerro Colorado and Sierrita Mountains protected by this acquisition.

Using NRCS Farm and Ranchland Protection Program Funds, the Arizona Land and Water Trust has helped protect 47 acres of undeveloped, irrigated farmland straddling the Santa Cruz River in northern Santa Cruz county. The Middleton Ranch property holds the second-largest water rights in Santa Cruz County, helping protect the area's quality of life.