Dodging quicksand and rattlesnakes, Ted Mouras will spend Saturday morning walking along a five-mile stretch of a remote section of southeastern Arizona’s San Pedro River Basin in triple-digit heat for the annual wet/dry mapping of its water levels. A retired Army officer, he has volunteered annually to help the Nature Conservancy and its partners determine how the prolonged drought in the Southwest and the depletion of aquifers from local use affect the river.

Equipped with GPS technology, sturdy hiking boots and plenty of water, Mr. Mouras and more than 150 other volunteers will fan out to collect data along the more than 220 miles of the river basin, from its headwater streams in Mexico to the confluence with the Gila River near Winkelman, Ariz. The San Pedro’s tributary streams, some of which lie thousands of feet above the river and its valley, include the Babocomari River, Aravaipa Creek, Hot Springs Canyon, Ramsey Canyon and Los Fresnos in Mexico.

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