Pima County Natural Resources Parks & Recreation conducts weekly Bird Walks at Agua Caliente Park every Thursday. The walk start time varies depending on the time of year and is listed on the Events Calendar. Due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus, all organized activities to include the monthly bird walks have been suspended. However, there could be informal walks taking place. Feel free to check it out. Times vary depending on the weather. Check the calendar for additional information and updates. Registration is required at: Pima County NRPR Registration
Check out the three historic buildings at Agua Caliente Park. The Ranch House is generally open to the public for touring and Art Gallery viewing several days during the week (operating hours are at the bottom of most of the webpages). The Rose Cottage and Bunkhouse are not open except for special events/activities, but you can see them through our pictures using the below link.
Overview. The Main Pond Restoration began late April 2019 when Pima County stoped pumping ground water for the Main Pond. The pond slowly drained. The contractors began the process of cleaning and shaping the Pond. You can get additional information by visiting the Pima County NRPR Agua Caliente Park website at: Pima County NRPR Agua Caliente Park.For progress updates, please check below. For current pictures of the Pond 1 restoration, visit the Pond 1 Gallery page using the Gallery menu or this link: Main Pond (Pond 1)
Update July 2020.
The end of a long journey. The bridge has been installed and the island will be opened soon. Special thanks to Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation (NRPR) and Pima County Flood Control for continuing to pursue and fund this great project. Also, a special thanks to all our Supporters of the Friends of Agua Caliente for providing funding and input for the project. Pima County NRPR will soon install some benches on the island for patrons to use to enjoy the peace and serenity of the pond. We will continue to post pictures of the main pond and island in our Gallery, Main Pond page.
Update May 2020.
The Main pond is full and the polymer compound has mostly settled. The Red Eared Slider turtles are back in force at both ponds. Native fish will continue to be stocked over the next couple weeks. 500 endangered Gila topminnow were released in the main pond by Pima County NRPR May 13. The Gila topminnow is a small (1-2 inch) fish native to the greater Gila River watershed in Arizona. They are in the same family as guppies, which bear live young, as opposed to laying eggs. The topminnow will be periodically monitored by Pima County and the Game and Fish Department. Additional releases of native fishes, such as the endangered desert pupfish and the Gila Chub (a threatened species) are planned in the future.
For any additional information about the polymer lining or the turtles, click on the FAQ link above.
Update March 2020.
The Main Pond Restoration is mostly complete. Water is being put back into the pond. The next step will be the construction of the bridge to the island and opening the island. There will be a ribbon cutting grand opening scheduled in the Fall.
Update January-February 2020.
The Main Pond restoration is nearing completion! Pima County hopes to have the park reopened by late February or early March.
Effective January 28, workers began refilling the pond, which could take a month or two. The stream continues to flow at about 35 gallons per minute which will help. The bridge abutments are installed but the bridge itself will be completed under a separate contract. Landscaping will continue concurrently with pond filling. Stay tuned here for additional details and exact opening date when announced.
Update December 2019.
Here is an update from Pima County on the progress of Agua Caliente Park Pond 1 Restoration. There is no specific timeline for reopening the park, but hopefully soon.
The pond excavation and grading work are nearly complete, the initial base coat of the polymer liner has been applied, and the wildlife island has been constructed. The abutments for the bridge are under construction and access improvements are underway on the shore.
Work remaining includes final grading and filling of pond; application of 2nd liner coat; completing bridge abutments; and access improvements and landscaping. Bridge construction will be scheduled once the other elements are completed.
The Park received nearly 1.5 inches of rain in the first November storm and additional rain around Thanksgiving. These storms are causing some delays in the remaining construction work.
The Agua Caliente spring continues to flow at the present time and the flow appears to have increased as we move into the winter months. The spring flow continues to be diverted to Pond 2 or to native plant areas in the park.
See our Main Pond (Pond 1) link in the overview above for current pictures. For additional information, see the Pima County NRPR Agua Caliente Park website at: https://webcms.pima.gov/cms/one.aspx…. Then select Natural Resources Park then Agua Caliente Park.
Update October 2019. Phase 2 of the Pond 1 Restoration will start October 14 and extend through the end of November. Equipment will be used to grade and deepen the pond, hauling soil from Pond 3; install the polymer liner to reduce pond seepage and conserve water; and construct the wildlife island. Traffic control will be in place and may cause delays for vehicles using Roger Road. Residents are urged to reduce speeds and watch for flaggers. Agua Caliente Park will remain closed during this phase of construction.
Update August 2019. Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation has completed the first construction phase of the Pond 1 Restoration which included the removal of select palm trees and cattails and dredging the pond bottom. Closure of the entire park is currently anticipated to occur on August 19, 2019 for the second phase of construction which will include excavation and installation of a polymer-amended soil lining to the bottom and sides of the pond to reduce water loss, installation of a wildlife island, and replacement of the bridge to the current island. Closure for the entire park during this phase is anticipated to last several months.
Video Link of Stage 1 work is on our Video Gallery and the Main Pond Gallery Page.
Update July 2019. Restoration is in full swing. Palm trees have been thinned & trimmed and cattails removed. Some Tamarisk trees have also been removed. The Pond has been dredged and contouring has begun. Pond 2 is full. The spring and stream continue to flow but at a decreased rate. Water is diverted around Pond 1 to other areas of the park. So far, complete park closures have not been required but probably will be in the near future.
Update June 2019. Pima County NRPR will be closing sections of Agua Caliente Park beginning June 12 as part of the restoration project for Pond 1. Partial closures will be in place through June 14 and may extend into early week of June 17. Areas will be cordoned off around Pond 1 while palm tree removal occurs. The park will be open on the weekend.
Pond 1 is mostly dry. Some of the Cattails have been removed from the south end. This process will continue and work its way north as the pond continues to dry. With our extensive winter rains, the Spring/Stream started flowing again at a rate of about 30 gallons per minute. The staff built a dam at the lower end of the stream to divert the flow around Pond 1 and into Pond 2. The Ranch House will close early July (subject to change).
Update May 2019.The Main Pond continues to drain. Pima County constructed a dam to divert the stream flow (about 30 GPM) around the main pond to flow into Pond 2. Ponds 2 & 3 are full. The design contract (to develop the construction and landscaping plan) has been awarded. The Construction contract (dredging the pond, building the bridge, and restoring the island & building the wildlife island) should be awarded this summer. The Park will be closed when the cattails are removed and palm trees (around the main pond) thinned and when the heavy equipment (required for dredging/bridge building/island restoration/building) needs to be operated within the park. Pima County should post a closure sign at the front gate in advance of the planned dates and closure dates will be posted here and on the Pima County website.
Update April 2019. The Information meeting scheduled for May 2 has been cancelled. Updates will be posted here and on the Pima County website.
Update April 1, 2019. The Main Pond will continue to have some water pumped until after Easter Sunday (Easter is typically a busy day at the park). Shortly after that, the pump will be shut off and the Main Pond water level should begin to drop. There is an Information Meeting scheduled for Thursday May 2, 2019 at the Kirk-Bear Canyon Library (8959 E Tanque Verde Rd @ Tanque Verde & Bear Canyon) from 5:30 – 7:00 pm. Pima County Staff will be on-hand to answer questions.