Springs - header
Blake McCord

Springs - where we work

Where we work

Springs - project locations


Start date: 2009
Status: We removed invasives and rebuilt pools at several springs near Vermilion Cliffs. We continue to monitor the sites via wildlife cameras.


Start date: 2016
Status: We're working with the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) to first assess and then restore springs across northern Arizona.


Start date: 2018 
Status: New project. Our spring assessments will help us identify which ones will benefit most from future restoration. Volunteer ›


Start date: 2018
Status: New project. We'll be restoring springs inside and outside of the reduced monument boundaries. Volunteer ›

Blake McCord

Springs - Volunteers in action

Volunteers in action

We assess the health of springs across the Colorado Plateau, prioritize work sites, and do our best to restore and preserve ecological functions.

Join us on a springs trip 

Springs - What we do (header)

What we do

Springs - What we do

Spring assessment on Coconino National Forest

Spring assessments

We take citizen scientists on geocaching adventures to find springs and document their condition. This typically involves measuring water quality and flow, looking for wildlife, scat, and animal tracks, assessing human infrastructure, and documenting native and non-native plants. 

This information helps us prioritize restoration sites. We also share the data we collect with land management agencies, like the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, so they can best protect springs on our public lands. 

Planting willows at spring site.

Spring restoration

We get our hands dirty restoring springs across the Colorado Plateau. Sometimes we build fences to protect springs from the heavy feet of cattle; other times we clear out invasive water-sucking plants. But regardless of method, it takes time for springs to recover.

We regularly check on our sites to make sure the plants, animals, and ecosystems are thriving. If not, we tweak our restoration plans accordingly. Some of our sites have wildlife cameras that capture coyotes, pronghorn, and jackrabbits drinking from the restored springs. 


Springs - who visits?

Who visits desert watering holes?

We place cameras at springs we’ve restored to see what critters are using the waters we’ve brought back to life. From mice, to birds, to bobcats, we’re learning about wildlife that depends on this landscape while watching entire ecosystems recover. Volunteer for the camera project ›

Critters caught on camera

Volunteer - CTA (join us in the field)

Join us in the field.

Grand Canyon - Threatened Waters Story Map

Springs - Why care (text)

Why care about springs?

Springs bring life to the Southwest. If springs shrivel up, so do the species that rely on them.

Springs have been sustaining plants, animals, and people for millennia. These watering holes are intertwined with clan names, origin stories, and cultures of Native American tribes in the region. Springs also support many endangered species. 

What are the threats?

From groundwater pumping, to mining, to livestock grazing, we place huge demands on our springs. Add in climate change and already scarce water sources become even scarcer. 

Volunteers in Action Blog


From Glen Canyon Dam to city council to a community art auction. Meet three students making a difference.

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I came knowing close to nothing and walked away feeling that the work I contribute will help keep our public lands beautiful and strong.

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From the Palmyra Atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to the Hopi reservation, our former interns are working for good in this world.

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