Where the Water Flows

Winkelman Water/Ways


Gila River

San Pedro River


Aravaipa Creek, a perennial creek supporting a lush and protected riparian habitat

Arnett Creek

Queen Creek and seasonal waterfalls

Water and Wastewater Treatment

Oracle Wastewater Treatment and Water Distribution

San Manuel Water Distribution

Town of Hayden Wastewater Treatment

Town of Kearny Water Department and Wastewater Treatment

Town of Mammoth Water Department and Wastewater Treatment

Town of Superior Wastewater Treatment and Water Distribution

Town of Winkelman Wastewater Treatment and Water Distribution

Winkelman ~ Host Site Profile

Network of Waterways

Winkelman is located in southern Gila County in central Arizona, where the San Pedro and Gila Rivers meet. The Gila River hooks around the eastern and southern sides of town on its way to the west, and the San Pedro River flows north from the Mexican border. Aravaipa Creek is another important waterway, a rare perennial stream that supports a lush riparian habitat. The mountainous terrain is laced with ephemeral creeks and dry washes that come alive when it rains.

Flood Danger

Winkelman has a contentious relationship with water. The town has been wiped out by flooding more than once. A particularly disastrous event in 1926 wiped out most of the nearby farmland and destroyed the lower part of the town known as the “flats.” Other destructive floods occurred in 1983 and 1993. After the 1993 flood, the “flats” area was condemned and rezoned to prevent rebuilding. The tatters of buildings and houses were removed and the land was transformed into Winkelman Flats Park.

A Copper Economy

Non-Native settlers first moved to the area in 1877 to establish farms and ranches. A railroad line came to the area in 1903, and a post office was established near the ranch of Peter Winkelman, who gave the town its name. The economy is largely based on copper mining and smelting. Ray Mine, in nearby Kearny, AZ, has been in operation since 1880, employing 1,417 local people. Another regional employer, the Copper Basin Railway, transports ore from the mine to the Hayden Operations facilities, which were established in 1911 and employed 607 people in 2014. Ray Mine and the Hayden Operations smelter are owned and operated by ASARCO, an Arizona based mining company founded in 1899 and now a subsidiary of Mexican mining company Grupo Mexico.

Community Cooperation: the "Copper Corridor"

Winkelman is part of the "Copper Corridor," a chain of communities that stretches from Superior to Oracle along a 65-mile stretch of State Highways 77 and 177. The roads were originally built for access to the area's many mines. The Copper Corridor towns cooperate on economic initiatives and cultural events. Tourism is an important source of economic activity. Luten Bridge and the Ore Cart Trail underline the area’s history, and Winkelman Flats Park offers tubing, canoeing, swimming and fishing. The town is also close to the Old West Highway route and promotes its natural scenery, including nearby mountain ranges and the Gila River, as tourism amenities. The San Carlos Apache Tribe operates a casino seven miles south of Winkelman that generates revenue for the area and provides over 400 jobs for local residents.

Water Programs

Thursday, May 16 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Managing Land for Water in the Southwest: Realities & Changes in a Changing Climate with Chris Jones and Paul Buck

This presentation will focus on ecological restoration and other land management activities, both natural and anthropogenic, which have direct and indirect impacts to water runoff and capture within different biomes and locations within their watersheds.  The adaptation and use of multiple management techniques, including application and timing, is crucial to their success when coping with the climactic changes occurring in the desert southwest, specifically on the San Carlos Apache Reservation.

Christopher Jones is a Cooperative Extension Agent at the University of Arizona. He has an MS degree in Renewable Natural Resources Studies from the University of Arizona and a BS degree in Forestry from Northern Arizona University. Chris has over twenty years of experience in Extension education. He conducts educational Extension programs in the fields of Horticulture and Natural Resources. He lives in and serves Gila County in rural central Arizona. Chris' Extension programming includes water and watershed management education, including conducting Master Watershed Stewardship training, facilitating the Project WET WaterFest for fourth grade students in Southern Gila County, and helping to found and participating in the Cobre Valley Watershed Partnership.

Paul J. Buck, Supervisory Soil Conservationist, San Carlos Apache Tribe.  I studied Agronomy at Iowa State University, then accepted my current position with the Tribe in July 2004.  I have worked on projects such as riparian restoration, post-fire rehabilitation, erosion control, grassland savannah restoration, as well as managed the Tribal Farm for several years.  I am also involved in environmental planning and NEPA coordination on the Reservation.  Personally, I am a musician, volunteer music teacher, and community theater actor.

Thursday, May 30 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Three-Part Presentation: Water; Water & Early Cultures; Water & Western Settlement with Len Marcisz

This three-part presentation explains the nature of water, the water cycle, flora and fauna water dependency, water use in arid environments, the evolution of water use by ancient cultures, and the various developmental, legal, social, political and economic issues attendant to water use during the period of US settlement in Arizona.

Leonard Marcisz currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Arizona Historical Society, a state agency responsible for the management of 16 state historical properties and museums.  He served as President of the Society in 2014-2015.  Marcisz has also served as Vice Chairman of the City of Scottsdale’s Historic Preservation Commission.  He served on the Board of Directors of the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy from 2005 through 2011, and is a former Chairman of the board.  His articles regarding the history of the McDowell Mountains have appeared in several local periodicals, and his research has been quoted or footnoted in several archaeological and historical books and papers.  He is the scriptwriter and moderator for the Scottsdale City Cable Channel 11 historical series “Scottsdale Yesterdays.”  He also leads themed desert hikes for the Fountain Hills Conservancy and McDowell Sonoran Conservancy on subjects of local history and ethnobotany.  He recently completed the recording of a three part series about Arizona water issues for Arizona State University, where he has served as an occasional guest lecturer.

Thursday, June 6 from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Project Harvest: A Co-Created Environmental Health Citizen Science Program in Rural & Urban Arizona Communities with Dr. Monica Ramirez-Andreotta

Promoting bidirectional communication and collaboration between researchers and stakeholders is critical. Using an environmental justice and research translation framework, this presentation will highlight partnership building, community based participatory approaches to research, and ways to address complex problems that arise in communities neighboring contamination. For example, the University of Arizona’s Project Harvest (PH), in partnership with the Sonora Environmental Research Institute, Inc. is a co-created citizen science project investigating the quality (inorganic, organic, or microbiological contaminants) of harvested rainwater as well as residential soil and plant quality. Using educational materials delivered by peers, PH aims to: co-produce environmental quality data in a form that will be directly relevant to the participants’ lives, increase community involvement in environmental decision-making, and improve participant’s self-efficacy and environmental health education in underserved rural and urban communities.

Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta is an assistant professor of Soil, Water and Environmental Science with a joint appointment in the College of Public Health at the University of Arizona. Ramírez-Andreotta is a community-engaged environmental health scientist investigating the fate & transport of pollutants in environmental systems, exposure pathways, phytotechnologies, and ways to improve environmental health literacy. As such, she is often found talking to and training communities and hosting community gatherings and data sharing events.  Ramírez-Andreotta is a playful, highly spirited individual who enjoys hanging with her boo, exercise, and democratizing science. She Tweets @EnvSci_G_Roots. Contact: mdramire@email.arizona.edu

Community Partners

Copper Area News Publishers

CAN publishes eight local newspapers and magazines and operates a regional news website for Copper Corridor residents and visitors.

The Nature Conservancy

In the Copper Corridor area, this organization preserves the unique riparian ecosystem dependent on Aravaipa Creek.

Oracle Historical Society

Founded in 1977, the Society hosts exhibits and community events at its main facility, Acadia Ranch Museum. It also operates a smaller museum at American Flag Ranch.

Southern Gila County Economic Development Corporation

SGCEDC seeks to enhance quality of life and broaden the economic base of the Copper Corridor area. It partners with local municipalities and the San Carlos Apache Tribe on programs and studies, and sponsors senior outreach programs and local food education.

Superior Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber works to promote Superior to visitors and potential residents, enhance the business and entrepreneurial skills of its members, and attract and retain businesses in a changing regional economy.

Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness