Tanque Verde Wash

Tanque Verde Wash

Tanque Verde Loop Road Tucson, Arizona 85749

Tanque Verde Wash Important Bird Area webpage

About this Location

Tanque Verde Wash Important Bird Area originally included Sabino Canyon and Bear Creek but now also contains the adjoining Tanque Verde Wash. As a result, information about this IBA tends to be divided along these boundaries. Upper Sabino Canyon (Coronado National Forest) is a narrow riparian area in a deep canyon at the southern base of the Santa Catalina Mountains.

The stream is perennial and lined with willow (Salix sp.), cottonwood (Populus fremontii), ash (Fraxinus velutina), and sycamore (Platanus wrightii). At one point a small silted in pond contains a wide Tanque Verde Wash area of thick vegetation. Downstream of the national forest boundary the floodplain widens and contains mesquite bosque (Prosopis velutina) as well as the same riparian trees as upstream.

Habitat is particularly wide where lower Bear Creek flows into Sabino Creek from the northeast. Here Sabino Creek becomes an intermittent stream; meandering through more hydro- to xeroriparian vegetation until it intersects with Tanque Verde Wash. Tanque Verde Wash is part of Tucson’s system of stormwater runoff drainages that while having been “improved” with bank stabilization in some places, remains relatively natural. The wash has not been channelized and is lined with native vegetation.

There are private homes and businesses such as the Forty Niner Golf and Country Club dotted along the wash, but in many places, the suite of native vegetation survives intact. In some areas, the wash is lined with rare large patches of mesquite bosque and large cottonwoods can be found along the wash, supported by high groundwater levels.

The native vegetation is especially intact on the eastern end of the wash. This wash is dry most of the year but often flows during the summer monsoon season. This area provides a wonderful habitat resource for native riparian birds and a migratory oasis for migratory birds along with other wildlife and also acts as a corridor for wildlife to move through Tucson. Significant housing developments abut the lower stretches.

Content from Tanque Verde Wash Important Bird Area webpage